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Un Ballo in Maschera

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Written only halfway through Giuseppe Verdi’s unrivaled musical career, Un Ballo in Maschera contains music that looks back to its composer’s roots in the bel canto tradition while also foreshadowing the towering dramatic masterpieces yet to come. Loosely inspired by the real-life assassination of Swedish King Gustav III at a masked ball in 1792, the opera was famously the victim of censors and was forced to be reset in colonial Boston before it could make its way onto the stage. While in recent years, Verdi and librettist Antonio Somma’s original Swedish setting has been restored, it was in this alternate treatment that the work appears in this radio broadcast from 1971. Legendary conductor Fausta Cleva takes the podium to lead an equally starry cast, headlined by tenor Plácido Domingo as Governor Riccardo, whose ill-fated love for his best friend’s wife spells his undoing. Radiant soprano Martina Arroyo is Amelia, the object of his affection, and baritone Robert Merrill is her husband—and Riccardo’s ultimate killer—Renato. Completing the principal cast, mezzo-soprano Mignon Dunn is the otherworldly fortune teller Ulrica, and soprano Roberta Peters takes on the trouser role of Oscar, Riccardo’s spirited young page.

Full Synopsis

Performance Info

Performance Date

Jan 30, 1971


Giuseppe Verdi


Antonio Somma

Run Time

2 HRS 10 MIN

The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus