This winter, conductor Stephen Lord returns to the COC to conduct Verdi's A Masked Ball. The veteran conductor (one of only four conductors recently named by Opera News as being among the 25 most powerful names in U.S. opera!) recently led the COC Orchestra with our 2013 production of Lucia di Lammermoor, and prior to that, our 1998 Norma.
Our latest Inside Opera video for Verdi's A Masked Ball features a day in the life of conductor Stephen Lord. Does a maestro have an office? What happens when he steps into the rehearsal hall? What is an orchestral reading? All these questions and more are answered in the video below!
A Masked Ball runs from February 2 to 22 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.
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By Nikita Gourski, Development Communications Coordinator, and Gianmarco Segato, Adult Programs Manager
Need a quick refresher about Verdi's A Masked Ball (Un ballo in maschera) before you attend your performance? Look no further! Here are the top ten things you need to know about this opera, and our production.
1. MAKING THE OLD NEW
It was the first and only time in Verdi’s career that he adapted an already existing libretto, Gustave III, ou Le bal masqué by Eugène Scribe. Scribe’s libretto had been set to music by French composer Daniel Auber in 1833 and enjoyed great success at its premiere in Paris.
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By Gianmarco Segato, Adult Programs Manager
Of Verdi’s middle-period operas, A Masked Ball (1859) is one of the few not to undergo extensive revisions following its initial run of performances. In contrast, Simon Boccanegra (1857/1881), La forza del destino (The Force of Destiny, 1862/1869) and Don Carlos (1867/1884) were significantly reworked after they premiered, and today are most often presented in their later versions, which means that different stages of Verdi’s artistic development co-exist side by side in those works, sometimes juxtaposed all too obviously.
A Masked Ball, on the other hand, was composed relatively quickly. And for all of its variety of musical styles, it is an opera that moves forward in a user-friendly, easy-to-follow single span (compare that with the confusing, sudden chronological leaps one finds in Simon Boccanegra).
Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001