Few people really know Simon Boccanegra, but once you've seen it, you have to see it again. It's really Verdi's best unknown opera. 25 years after its premiere in 1857 Verdi reworked it with Boito, bringing in the Council Chamber scene among other revisions. It's this 1881 version we're performing now. You can hear the experience gained through Aida and Don Carlos in his composition. This revision was also done shortly before Otello, which you can almost sense in the making.
Most Verdi operas are political operas. He was very engaged politically and you see this very clearly in Boccanegra. In 1857 when it was first written, the Italian kingdom was very young. In 1881 it was more established and bigger. But on a much higher level the political expression in Verdi's operas is not about daily politics, but more about concepts for societies and individuals, how they should interact and a powerful sense of right and wrong. This social political element is part of the emotional message.
Verdi also brought in 25 more years of human experience in his revision. Boccanegra is a story about an older man, two if you take Fiesco into account, and he was almost 70 years old when he was working on it. And he wasn't writing in isolation. He was listening to what was going on around him, to Brahms, Schumann and Wagner.
Posted by Alexander Neef / in Productions / comments (0) / permalink
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