Most recent performance
There are currently no scheduled performances of Simon Boccanegra. It was last on stage 27 June—16 July 2013 as part of the Summer 2012/13 season.
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.
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?
News and features
21 May 2015
The composer of La traviata, Macbeth and Otello consolidated and innovated the opera of his time.
27 June 2013
A look at one of Verdi’s finest duets, which sees the emotional reunion of a father and his daughter.
Simon Boccanegra is an opera with a prologue and three acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, based on the play Simón Bocanegra (1843) by Antonio García Gutiérrez, whose play El trovador had been the basis for Verdi's 1853 opera, Il trovatore. Simon Boccanegra was first performed at Teatro La Fenice in Venice on 12 March 1857. Given the complications of the original plot and the generally poor popular response - although the critical one was more encouraging - the opera dropped out of favour after 1866. Finally, 23 years later, Verdi's publisher persuaded the composer to revise the opera, with text changes to be prepared by Arrigo Boito, the librettist who aspired to work with the aging composer on a project which eventually became a new opera, Otello, but to which Verdi had not totally committed at that time. The revised version of Simon Boccanegra, with the now-famous Council Chamber scene, was first performed at La Scala in Milan on 24 March 1881. It is this version which is the one frequently performed today.