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    Un Ballo in maschera

    Giuseppe Verdi

    During a ball, Verdi removes the masks of passion and duty.

    Mirga Gražynitė-Tyla
    Mirga Gražynitė-Tyla © Frans Jansens

    Mary Elizabeth Williams | Amelia
    Bongiwe Nakani | Ulrica
    Harriet Eyley | Oskar
    Matteo Lippi | Riccardo
    Simone Piazzola | Renato
    Cast to be completed

    Mirga Gražynitė-Tyla | direction
    City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
    City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus | direction Simon Halsey

    Sung in Italian with French and English subtitles

    As is often the case, Verdi's quest for the plot of a new opera was directed towards a theme that could have a contemporary political resonance. He became enthusiastic about a historical fact, the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden during a masked ball. But the censorship of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, which had a say in authorising such and such new work, was much less so. It was not admissible to have a royal figure assassinated on stage. All the more so as Verdi, in order to "spice up" the story even more, had added a passion between the King and the wife of his murderer. In the end, although he naturally kept the love affair, an unavoidable theme that is key to all good opera librettoes, the royal figure was demoted to the rank of governor and the action moved to faraway America. The context of a festive masquerade ball is an opportunity to mix genres, allowing him to compose a score in which brilliant tragic and comic chords are combined with an almost Shakespearean panache. And once again we see that politics and passion go hand in hand in opera.

    PRODUCTION Théâtre des Champs-Elysées

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