23 May 2014 at 5.22pm | Comment on this article
Katharina Thoma will make her Royal Opera debut with a new production of Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera, which will have its UK premiere on 18 December 2014.
‘[Un ballo in maschera] is a story about the last days of monarchy; a story that includes love affairs, political conflicts and secret rebellion, which ends with the assassination’ says Katharina. ‘It is a brilliant mixture of tragedy and comedy, and the contradiction of the light and bright, and the very dark and tragic, is absolutely brilliant.’
Un ballo in maschera, one of Verdi’s most popular operas, features some of his most sophisticated and subtle music and was an instant success when it had its premiere in 1859.
Originally, Verdi based the opera on the story of Swedish king Gustav III, who was assassinated at a masked ball in the 18th-century. However, following objections by Italian censors in Naples and Italy, he was forced to transform the king into a governor – Governor Riccardo of Boston.
‘A lot of aspects in this piece fit with the world of society about 100 years ago – when one big epoch was coming to an end and the world was heading towards WWI without knowing it,’ says Katharina. ‘The piece also plays with different identities, which is a characterization of modern society: people tend to put on a mask and show a different identity.’
Un ballo in maschera runs from 18 December 2014 – 17 January 2015. It is a co-production with Theater Dortmund and Scottish Opera and staged with generous philanthropic support from The Royal Opera House Endowment Fund.