'Simon Boccanegra' -
'... Boccanegra is sung by Tito Gobbi, notable in any context ...'
Boccanegra's life overlapped with Florentine Dante's, and both fell victim to the internecine strife of Guelfs and Ghibellines, the one dying in exile in Ravenna with the Divina Commedia to crown his achievement, the other ending with a draught of poisoned wine as first doge of Genoa. Politically they were on opposite sides, which helped neither of them. Arrigo Boito, admirable librettist of Verdi's last two operas, came also to the rescue of the 1857 Boccanegra; but even his dramatic skill could not altogether clarify a plot in which too many characters actually are, or pretend to be, somebody else.
As always, Verdi was after the parola scenica, and as always he managed a sequence of tableaux both musically powerful and compelling on stage...
Copyright © 16 January 2012