When Simon Boccanegra was a young man, his lover died and their baby disappeared. Years later, as Doge of Genoa, he is reunited with his daughter, but his newfound happiness is threatened by political enemies.
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What is the personal price of political success? The question lies at the heart of Giuseppe Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra. The opera is a sympathetic portrait of a man whose past catches up with him. While the 1857 premiere of Simon Boccanegra was not a success, 20 years later Verdi revised the score and libretto with writer Arrigo Boito. The opera’s ‘rebirth’ in Milan in 1881 met with great acclaim. Simon Boccanegra is now recognized as one of Verdi’s most compelling works.
Elijah Moshinsky’s handsome production is inspired by Italian Renaissance art. Moments of intimacy – such as the tender duet when Boccanegra is reunited with his daughter Amelia – are contrasted with the stormy drama of state politics. Coursing though the opera is the hatred between Boccanegra and Fiesco, father of Boccanegra’s lover Maria. The men finally make peace in Act III in a moving duet – but has reconciliation come too late?