‘A masked ball’, Conspiracy and Fidelity Wrapped in Beautiful Music

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Rafael Davila in the role of Gustavo with Jonathan Burton. Courtesy Florida Grand Opera

The opera was the entertainment par excellence until the appearance of the cinema. A masked ball by Verdi has an attractive libretto by Antonio Somma based on that of Scribe for Auber’s opera, Gustavo III or A Masked Ball. Although it is based on the real fact of the king’s assassination of Sweden, just during a masked ball at the Stockholm Opera, as a typical plot of the nineteenth century, real intrigue and tragedy are enriched with a network of feelings and passions found, By the “force of fate”. Everything ends in a fatal masquerade.

“For me, Ballo [Ballo in Maschera] is essentially about commitment and fidelity,” says Marco Pelle, director of the new launch of this work by the Florida Grand Opera, which opens Saturday at the Ziff Ballet and Opera House Of the Arsht Center.

“Not only fidelity to the person we love, but also to our own values. It can be summed up in the choice between being faithful or betraying. Gustavo III chooses friendship above all else. Something really weird. Amelia also decides not to betray her husband. ” However, despite such laudable decisions, the plot is complicated in a way that we will not reveal and everything ends tragically.

The baritone Todd Thomas comments on his character, Count Anckarstrom: “Every scene Verdi writes for the baritone it is a gift. In Ballo, as in Don Carlo, brotherly love is beautifully expressed. In the initial scene my character has a beautiful cavanina belcantista in which expresses his love for Gustavo and for his country “.

This production, original of the Opera of Utah, counts on the orchestral direction of a favorite of the miamenses, the Spaniard Ramon Tebar. The set is by Eric Fielding, the lights, by Kevin G. Mynatt and the costumes, by Howard Svi Kaplan.

A masked ball, which was released in 1859 in Rome, has had a magnificent reception from the public, despite the vicissitudes that the libretto had to suffer through censorship. It was not possible to represent a magnicide on stage, so the story had to be modified several times and took the action to an imaginary Boston. Fortunately, afterwards, the libretto could be restored to its original argument.

Composed in the period of greatest splendor of its author, here you can appreciate the subtlety of Verdi to portray characters and profile situations. Created between Aroldo (review of his Stiffelio) and The Force of Destiny, the work has gained a permanent place in the repertoire, mainly for its musical quality and for the imperishable of the plot, but also for the visual attractiveness of a dance of Masks that sometimes affect the clothing of those who come to enjoy it.

This set has prestigious personalities in this art, very knowledgeable about the roles to play, such as Tamara Wilson and Alexandra Lo Bianco, alternating with Amelia, and Rafael Dávila (whom we listen to as Don José in Carmen, and in 2014, as Cavaradossi, in Tosca) and Jonathan Burton who will alternate as Gustavo. Also the stage director, Pelle, is very familiar with the work, having worked on it several times, as a choreographer first, and now as stage director.

Thomas adds that “he trusts that this is a production that will fulfill all expectations”.

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