17 May 2020

VERDI: Simon Boccanegra

From Opera on Sunday

All remaining live performances in the 2019–20 season at The Met have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. This is a recording from 5 February 2011, featuring the late Dmitry Hvorostovsky in the title role.

A scene from Simon Boccanegra at The Met

A scene from Simon Boccanegra at The Met Photo: Ken Howard / Metropolitan Opera

Metropolitan Opera Season

Sunday 17 May 2020 at 6pm on RNZ Concert

VERDI: Simon Boccanegra


Dmitry Hvorostovsky (Simon Boccanegra), Barbara Frittoli (Maria Boccanegra/Amelia Grimaldi), Ferruccio Furlanetto (Jacopo Fiesco), Ramón Vargas (Gabriele Adorno), Nicola Alaimo (Paolo Albiani), Richard Bernstein (Pietro), Edyta Kulczak (Amelia's maidservant), Adam Laurence Herskowitz (Captain of the Crossbowmen), Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orchestra/James Levine

Synopsis of Simon Boccanegra

Verdi's opera explores long-held secrets, treachery and the father-daughter relationship, in the majestic setting of Renaissance Genoa.

The dashing corsair Simon Boccanegra and Maria, daughter of the nobleman Jacopo Fiesco, have fallen in love and had an illegitimate daughter.

The child has disappeared from her foster-home. Boccanegra returns to Genoa to break the news to Maria, and learns of her death as a crowd, led by the plebeian Paolo Albiani, proclaim him Doge of Genoa.

Genoese aristocrats, including Amelia's lover Gabriele Adorno, are planning a rebellion, and Boccanegra's own advisor Paolo has turned against him…

A scene from Simon Boccanegra at The Met

A scene from Simon Boccanegra at The Met Photo: Ken Howard / Metropolitan Opera

Verdi began work on 'Simon Boccanegra' in 1856. His literary source was a play by the Spanish writer Antonio García Gutiérrez, in which intense familial relationships play out against a background of political tension - always a favourite scenario for Verdi. The original version of the opera (1857) was unsuccessful.

More than twenty years later, Verdi revised 'Boccanegra' with the help of Arrigo Boito, his librettist for the later 'Otello' and 'Falstaff'. Among other changes, they introduced the great Council Chamber scene that closes Act I. The revised 'Boccanegra''s 1881 premiere at La Scala, Milan, was a considerable success.

'Simon Boccanegra' is one of Verdi's most subtly powerful works, in which large-scale choral episodes, such as the Council Chamber scene, contrast with passages of tender intimacy, including Amelia and Boccanegra's ecstatic Act I duet.



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