Giuseppe Verdi

Simon Boccanegra

Apr 1 - Apr 16

The legendary pair of James Levine and Plácido Domingo have defined Verdi’s art for more than four decades. They demonstrate their mastery with this remarkable character study of the wise Doge forced to confront his past. The spectacular cast includes tenor Joseph Calleja and another legend, bass Ferruccio Furlanetto, as Boccanegra’s rival, Fiesco.

Read Synopsis Read Program
  • Sung In
  • Italian
  • Met Titles In
  • English
  • German
  • Italian
  • Spanish
  • Estimated Run Time
  • 3 hrs 9 mins
  • House Opens
  • Prologue & Act I 93 mins
  • Intermission 35 mins
  • Act II & III 61 mins
  • Opera Ends
Apr 1 - Apr 16

This production has completed for the season.

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A scene from Simon Boccanegra

World premiere: Teatro la Fenice, Venice, 1857 (original version); Teatro alla Scala, Milan, 1881 (revised version). Met and U.S. premiere: January 28, 1932.Simon Boccanegra is Verdi’s compelling portrayal of a man who is both a leader and an outsider, set against one of the most incisive depictions of politics ever put on the stage. The premiere was not successful, and the composer revised the opera more than 20 years later. Although Boccanegra remains just outside the core repertory of Verdi favorites, it is a rewarding example of his genius at its most humane and insightful.


In an extraordinary career spanning six decades in the theater, Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901) composed 28 operas, at least half of which are at the core of today’s repertoire. His role in Italy’s cultural and political development has made him an icon in his native country. Librettist Francesco Maria Piave (1810–1876) also worked with Verdi on Macbeth, Rigoletto, La Traviata, and La Forza del Destino, among others. Arrigo Boito (1842–1918), who collaborated on the revision, was a writer and composer who would later create the librettos to Verdi’s final two masterpieces, Otello and Falstaff.

Production Giancarlo del Monaco

Set & Costume Designer Michael Scott

Lighting Designer Wayne Chouinard

Giuseppe Verdi


Giuseppe Verdi


A scene from Simon Boccanegra

The opera is based on a historical figure who, in 1339, became doge (leader) of the Republic of Genoa. While the details of the pseudo-history in the story are irrelevant to appreciating the opera, the issues symbolized in the historical moment are crucial. The endless fighting between and within the various Italian city-states of the era forms a rich background for this tale of a man worn down by social and personal fragmentation.


Even looking at its original 1857 form, Verdi was attempting something new with Boccanegra. He supplied each act with the customary rousing music, but insisted that the important parts of the score were found between the applause-grabbing moments. His sophisticated revision expanded the role of the orchestra and deepened the characterizations. Standouts in the score include Fiesco’s aria in the Prologue and the grand Act I council chamber scene, added for the revision, which features one of the most elaborate ensembles in opera and ends with a whisper instead of the usual wall of sound.

Met History

Following his 1923 Met debut in the supporting role of Lavitsky in Boris Godunov, Lawrence Tibbett quickly became the company’s leading baritone. He was chosen to sing the title role in the 1932 Met premiere of Simon Boccanegra, dominating the opera’s first 20 performances with his towering portrayal. Boccanegra itself has since gone from relative obscurity to securing a permanent place in the repertoire.

A scene from Simon Boccanegra