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I have corrected the capitalization of the title from Un Ballo in Maschera to Un ballo in maschera. - - Kleinzach 16:16, 14 December 2005 (UTC)[reply]

The following was on (somewhat bizarrely) Amelia, but it's pretty clearly about Ballo. I (Camembert) don't feel inclined to merge it into this article right now (if merging there is indeed to be done), so I'll stick it here for the time being:

Amelia is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi. Libretto by Piave.


ACT I. Officers and citizens in the house of Count Richard express their love for him, while the Conspirators, Samuel, Tom and their friends, declare their hatred. Ulrica is about to be banished as a witch. Richard loves Amelia, the wife of his secretary. Her husband, having seen a list of the invited guests, warns the governor of treachery to come, and he resolves to visit Ulrica in disguise. The conspirators, learning of this, determine to take advantage of the opportunity to wreak their vengeance. Change of scene: Ulrica’s dwelling. Incantation scene. Amid a crowd of women and children, Richard appears in the disguise of a fisherman and is recognised by Ulrica. When Amelia also arrives the witch dismisses the crowd; Richard overhears that he is beloved by Amelia, who desires forgetfulness from the sorceress. Ulrica tells Amelia to pluck a certain plant at midnight in a lonely place, and she departs. Richard now has his fortune told, and hears that death is his portion and that the man who first presses his hand that day will be the murderer. Renato appears, and extends his hand to Richard. Richard is recognised as the governor and is joyfully greeted by the people.

ACT II. Midnight. A deserted spot. Amelia, conuering her fears, approaches; she meets Richard and both declare their love. Renato unexpectedly arrives on the scene to save the governor from the conspirators. He does not recognise his disguised wife, and first having changed cloaks with Richard, promises to escort her to safety. The Conspirators are foiled, but in revenge tear the veil from Amelia’s face, and Renato, thunderstruck, recognises his wife. Renato’s love for the governor turns to hate and he arranges for the conspirators to meet him on the morrow. He keeps his word to the governor and escorts Amelia to the city.

ACT III. Renato’s chamber. Renato plans to kill his wife, but changes his mind and determines to avenge the insult he has received in the blood of Richard. He promises aid to the conspirators and compels Amelia to take part in the drawing of lots; his name is found on the slip and Amelia suspects his design. Oscar, the page, brings an invitation to the masked ball, which Renato accepts. Change of scene: Masked ball at the palace of the governor. Richard resolves to allow Renato and Amelia to sail for England and thus be true to honour and duty. Crowd of maskers. The conspirators seek the governor, but he is warned by Amelia and bids her farewell, renounc­ing his love for her. He is stabbed by Renato, who has followed him. Dying, he declares Amelia’s innocence and forgives Renato.

References and external links: Plot taken from The Opera Goer's Complete Guide by Leo Melitz, 1921 version.

Note that many performances today now revert back to the 'original' version by Verdi - set in Sweden, though this is only partly based on fact. The king is shot at the end of the opera. In real life he actually lived for several weeks, and died eventually of infection caused by the treatment of his wounds. Anckarström was executed.

Made a few changes, especially to the synopsis...but I'm afraid it's still rather incoherent. I think a complete rewrite would be an improvement. Herbivore 01:48, 29 September 2006 (UTC)[reply]

I've written a new synopsis. Cast, history, etc., to follow. Herbivore 18:44, 1 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]


Why has this article title lost its caps? Normally I'd just move it to Un Ballo in Maschera, but since someone clearly did it deliberately I thought I'd ask before doing so. DJ Clayworth 14:09, 24 August 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Boston Debut[edit]

I'm an opera neophyte, and so not sure where to start, but can does anyone have information about when/where the Boston debut of this opera was? I imagine colonial Bostonians might react as badly to an opera about the assassination of their governor as Europeans would to one about the death of the King of Sweden. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bomar2300 (talkcontribs) 03:16, 10 January 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Hi Bomar2300. The Boston debut was on March 15, 1861, long after Massachusetts ceased to be a British colony. In any case, the whole point of the American Revolution was to get rid of British rule. So they would hardly mind having the King's (imaginary) representative assassinated. In fact, the American critics at the time jokingly proposed that the two conspirators (Sam and Tom) must be Samuel Adams and Thomas Jefferson and lamented the absence of a Ben (Franklin) conspirator. As in New York, where it was premiered the previous month by the same company, the audience and critics were not offended but were quite bemused by the anachronisms and incongruities—most notably, the concept of holding a lavish masked ball in a Puritan colony. Apparently for both the New York and Boston performances, extra music (not composed by Verdi) was added to the ball scene, and "selected" members of the audience were invited to join in the dancing on stage, with management providing suitable masks for them to wear. For more, see:
Voceditenore (talk) 12:07, 10 January 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Thank you! If there's no objection, I will edit that in at first convenience. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bomar2300 (talkcontribs) 23:09, 10 January 2014 (UTC)[reply]

External links modified[edit]

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Un ballo in maschera
An 1860 lithograph showing the assassination of Riccardo, the Earl of Warwick, in the climactic scene of the opera Un ballo in maschera. Composed by Giuseppe Verdi, with a libretto by Antonio Somma, it was based on the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden and initially intended to be performed as Gustavo III. However, after extensive censorship, the play was reset in the colonial United States and rewritten to center around a British governor in Boston. First performed in 1859, Un ballo in maschera has been widely staged, with many productions since the 1930s restoring the Swedish setting.Lithograph: Francesco Corbetta; restoration: Adam Cuerden

"widely known flamboyantly homosexual ruler"[edit]

§ Homosexuality of Gustav III includes the quote:

David Richards has argued that although the opera was no longer explicitly based on Gustav III, Verdi deliberately deviated from his usual practice and set Oscar for a soprano - despite disliking women singing men's parts: "Verdi goes as far as one could go within the repressive conventions of his period to portray Gustavo (based on a widely known flamboyantly homosexual ruler) as either a gay man or, at a minimum, a bisexual man". [1]

Who was this "widely known flamboyantly homosexual ruler"? Richards may amplify this statement elsewhere in the book, or on the same page (p.118), but if so it doesn't appear in Google's very small snippet view. In my opinion, it should be in the article, if known.[2]


  1. ^ David Richards, Tragic Manhood and Democracy: Verdi's Voice and the Powers of Musical Art, Sussex Academic Press, 2004
  2. ^ Google snippet view

--Thnidu (talk) 18:44, 31 August 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Old and new character names.

According to the Schirmer, Sam is Count Horn, and Tom is Count Ribbing. The article has them the other way round. CountHorn (talk) 16:01, 30 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]

I would prefer the Synopsis to match the overwhelmingly performed version[edit]

Since nearly anyone listening to or watching a performance of this opera is going to hear the King Gustavo version, the Synopsis should match that. In the setting for the existing Synopsis in this article, Stockholm is listed at the top as the default setting, so the character names should match. Could someone go through and change the character names to the King Gustavo character list? Softlavender (talk) 02:05, 18 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]