In fact there were two settings, because the 19th-century censors, sensing Verdi was having a dig at Italy's own political scene in his lifetime, put pressure on the composer. There are versions set in Boston, Masachusetts, and also in Sweden.
But at Grange Park Opera, we meet Riccardo, governer of Boston and Earl of Warwick (nothing to do with the centuries of real-life earls of Warwick). He is preparing for a masked ball, but receives news that his life is in danger. His position of power and his love for Amelia are put to the test as the opera comes to its spectacular end at the grand ball, and disguise cannot save Riccardo.
Italian tenor Vincenzo Costanzo sings Riccardo, with British soprano Claire Rutter as Amelia, Italian mezzo-soprano Elisabetta Fiorillo as the fortune-teller Ulrica, British baritone Roland Wood as treacherous Renato and Armenian soprano Tereza Gevorgyan as the page, Oscar.
Stephen Medcalf directs, Gianluca Marciano conducts, and design is by Jamie Vartan, Nicky Shaw (costumes), and David Plater (lighting) with choreography by Lynne Hockney.
Un Ballo in Maschera is one of the most powerful of Verdi's great operas, and despite its setting(s), as Italian as they come. Pop something sustaining in your picnic for the long interval, and prepare to be stirred...
Booking opens10am, Tues 6 Feb. Performances are on 9, 14, 17, 22, 24, 27 and 30 June, and 5 July. Un Ballo in Maschera is sung in Italian, with English surtitles. Published prices include a voluntary donation to Grange Park Opera development.
|What||Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera, Grange Park Opera|
|Where||Grange Park Opera, West Horsley Place, West Horsley,, Leatherhead, KT24 6AW | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Waterloo (underground)|
09 Jun 18 – 05 Jul 18, 8 performances at 6pm
|Price||£100 - £195|
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|