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Un Ballo in Maschera © Patrik Borecky

Verdi Un Ballo in Maschera

From 28 February TO 25 April 2020
Národní divadlo - Praha
Program

Verdi : Un Ballo in Maschera

2 h 30 Sung in : Italian
Cast
  • Conductor
    Jan Chalupecký
    Jaroslav Kyzlink
  • Director
    Dominik Benes
Details on the Performance

Giuseppe Verdi often found inspiration for his operas in the works of renowned writers and dramatists, including William Shakespeare, Friedrich Schiller, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, fils, and Eugène Scribe, one of the most distinguished 19th-century playwrights and librettists. In tandem with Charles Duveyrier, Scribe penned the libretto for the 1855 work Les vêpres siciliennes, and in 1857 his text for Daniel Auber’s 1833 French opera Gustave III, ou Le bal masqué served as the basis for Antonio Somma’s libretto to Verdi’s new opera, which would enter history under the title Un ballo in maschera.

The circumstances under which the opera came into being and was staged were affected by political events and subsequent censorship, as a result of which Verdi and Somma had to change the piece’s original title, Gustavo III, as well as the names of the characters, the setting and the time.

Accordingly, the King of Sweden, an ardent theatre lover, became the English governor in Boston, USA, etc. In this transformed version, the opera received its premiere on 17 February 1859, at the Teatro Apollo in Rome. A Prague audience first saw the piece on 1 August 1866, in German translation, at the Estates Theatre, and on 30 June 1869, the opera was performed in Czech translation at the New Town Theatre by the Provisional Theatre company, whose production was taken over by the National Theatre and presented in June 1884.

Our new production will be staged by the music director of the National Theatre Opera, Jaroslav Kyzlink, who has recently shown his flair for Verdi’s work in the productions of his operas Simon Boccanegra and Don Carlo, performed at the National Theatre and the State Opera, respectively. Dominik Beneš, who has directed the National Theatre productions of the operas The Nightingale and Iolanta, has invited Marek Cpin to design the sets and costumes. The getting together of such a splendid creative team promises a visually impressive experience.
 

  • Venue Info
  • Seating Plan
  • Synopsis
  • Videos

Národní divadlo - Praha Location Národní 2 - 110 00 Praha République Tchèque

  • Venue's Capacity: 988

The Venue's History in few words …

The recommended dress code is evening casual, men are advised to wear long trousers and closed shoes and elegant dress for women.

 

With the Czech artistic renaissance of the nineteenth century, the need for a theatre specialized in the national repertoire was increasingly felt.

 

The Czechs first obtained the authorisation (not without some reserve on the part of the Austrian administration) to open a temporary theatre in 1862, under Smetana's direction.

 

A veritable National Theatre, the actual Národní divadlo was opened in 1881. Fire burnt it down during the same year; in 1883 a new theatre was inaugurated with the performance of LIBUSE, composed for the occasion by Smetana.

 

The same work was performed a century later, when the house reopened after restoration.

The theatre, which still today programmes an essentially Czech repertoire, of course premiered works by Dvorak, Janacek and Martinu.

Today it presents top class performances and productions of works by Czech and foreign composers.

Národní divadlo

The seating plan is given as an indication and has no contractual value.
The division of categories may differ depending on shows and dates.

Synopsis

Un Ballo in Maschera

If you like your opera with a touch of politics then you will enjoy Le bal masqué. This opera was composed by Giuseppe Verdi with a libretto by Antonio Somma and was premiered in Rome in 1859. The opera is based on the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden, although the final version had to undergo several changes because of censorship and the tense political situation in France.

HISTORY
Le bal masqué revolves around political conspiracy and unrequited love; both strands becoming entwined.

Act 1
The long first act of Le bal masqué opens at the court of King Gustavo of Sweden; he is reviewing a list of guests for his masked ball. Gustavo is in love with Amelia, the wife of Count Anckarstrom and is happy to see that she is a guest. When the Count arrives he tries to warn the King of trouble in his kingdom but Gustavo will not listen. A magistrate asks King Gustavo to banish Madame Arvidson, a fortune teller accused of witchcraft but she is defended by Oscar, the King's page. To test the accusation the King calls upon his courtiers to disguise themselves ready to meet at her lodgings. Amelia arrives to see Madame Arvidson and the disguised King hides. From his hiding place he hears Amelia profess his love for him and the problems this is causing her. The fortune teller advises her to collect a magical herb. King Gustavo and his courtiers present themselves to the fortune teller and their fortunes are read. Madame Arvidson prophesies that the King will be killed by the next man to shake his hand, who turns out to be Count Anckarstrom.

Act 2
It is now the middle of the night and Amelia bravely visits the forest to pick her herbs. King Gustavo surprises her and they declare their love for each other; but suddenly the Count arrives and Amelia veils her face to hide from her husband. The Count tells the King that conspirators are looking for him and his life is in danger. As the King flees he asks Count Anckarstrom to escort the veiled lady back to the town. The Count has to fight the conspirators and in the struggle Amelia´s face is revealed. Count Anckarstrom immediately thinks the worst. He confers with the leaders of the conspiracy and they agree to meet the following day.

Act 3
Count Anckarstrom threatens to kill Amelia. She pleads her innocence and begs to see her son one more time. The Count relents and decides Gustavo must die instead. When the conspirators arrive they ask Amelia to draw lots to see who will kill the King and the Count is chosen. They decide that the masked ball, Le bal masqué, will be the perfect place for an assasination. At the ball the King is seen resolving to be strong and deciding to send Amelia and the Count away from court but the Count finds and stabs King Gustavo. As he lies dying he declares that Amelia did not break her marriage vows although he loves her. He bids farewell to his friends and his country and dies.

MAIN ROLES
Gustavo: King of Sweden.
Amelia: wife of Count Anckarstrom.
Count Ankarstrom: one of Gustavo's courtiers.
Oscar: Gustavo's page.
Madame Arvidson: a fortune teller, accused of witchcraft.

Národní divadlo

Video

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