Verdi Week continues at the Metropolitan Opera on Thursday, August 27, with Giuseppe Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera (A Masked Ball) – recorded for the Company’s Live in HD series, and broadcast on December 8, 2012.
Although the plot revolves around the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden in 1792, this production by David Alden moves the action to a timeless, film noir-inspired setting, starring Sondra Radvanovsky as Amelia, Marcelo Álvarez as King Gustavo, Dmitri Hvorostovsky as Count Anckarström, Kathleen Kim as the page Oscar, and Stephanie Blythe as the fortuneteller Madame Ulrica Arvidsson.
The libretto of Verdi’s opera is by Antonio Somma, whose text was apparently based on the libretto which French dramatist Eugène Scribe had written for Daniel Auber’s 1833 opera, Gustave III, ou Le bal masqué. In this work, Scribe wrote of the king’s assassination – he died of gunshot wounds received during a masked ball as the result of a political conspiracy against him.
Verdi’s version, which premiered at the Teatro Apollo in Rome on February 17, 1859, is a dramatic tale of love, betrayal and revenge, telling of the Swedish king’s love for Amelia, wife of his best friend and counsellor Count Anckarström. Although King Gustavo is warned of a plot against his life by both Anckarström and a fortuneteller, the king doesn’t take either warning seriously, but when Anckarström discovers that the monarch is having an affair with his wife, things take a more serious turn.
The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus are conducted by Fabio Luisi, and Un Ballo in Maschero is available to view from 7.30 pm EDT on Thursday, August 27, until 6.30 pm EDT on Friday, August 27.
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