Un ballo in maschera
“See how the drama is turned into laughter”, comment the chorus, as they witness the destruction of a marriage and a friendship. Here Pierluigi Petrobelli shows how the irony woven into the tragedy results from the meeting of French and Italian traditions. Is this really a ridiculous libretto mangled by censorship, or is it Verdi’s finest achievement, with its perfectly symmetrical drama and beautiful variety? Benedict Sarnaker analyses the extended love duet – the kernel of the score, and the pivot of the action. Harold Powers looks at the laughing chorus and at the quicksilver character of Oscar, unique in Verdi’s work.
Contents: Introduction, Nicholas John; A Fusion of Styles, Pierluigi Petrobelli; A King Restored: Structure and Music in ‘A Masked Ball’, Benedict Sarnaker; The ‘Laughing Chorus’ in Contexts, Harold Powers; Un ballo in maschera: Libretto by Antonio Somma; A Masked Ball: English translation by Edmund Tracey
All these will provide the new opera-goer with food for thought.
Brilliantly produced and superb value.
Wholehearted recommendation of this valuable new series.
Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901) is one of Italy’s most celebrated opera composers. His best-known operas include Rigoletto, Il trovatore, La traviata and Aida.