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Host Sean Bianco brings you a full-length opera featuring great voices from the past and present followed by “Opera Potpourri.”
Un ballo in maschera (A Masked Ball) is an 1859 opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi. The text, by Antonio Somma, was based on Eugène Scribe's libretto for Daniel Auber's 1833 five act opera, Gustave III, ou Le bal masqué.
The plot concerns the assassination in 1792 of King Gustav III of Sweden who was shot, as the result of a political conspiracy, while attending a masked ball, dying of his wounds thirteen days later.
It was to take over two years between the commission from Naples, planned for a production there, and its premiere performance at the Teatro Apollo in Rome on February 17, 1859. In becoming the Un ballo in maschera which we know today, Verdi's opera (and his libretto) underwent a significant series of transformations and title changes, caused by a combination of censorship regulations in both Naples and Rome, as well as by the political situation in France in January 1858. Based on the Scribe libretto and begun as Gustavo III set in Stockholm, it became Una vendetta in domino set in Stettin, and finally Un ballo in maschera set in Boston during the colonial era. It became one of the most frustrating experiences of Verdi's career.
From the mid-20th century, it has become more common for the setting to revert to its original 18th-century Stockholm location. A re-creation of the original Gustavo III has been staged in Sweden.
Amelia - Maria Callas
Riccardo - Giuseppe di Stefano
Renato - Tito Gobbi
Oscar – Eugenia Ratti
La Scala Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Antonino Votto – conductor
EMI - 1956