Teatro Filarmonico: Un Ballo in Maschera Sells Out - Over 600 Students Attend Previews

Fondazione Arena wraps up its 2023 Opera Season with Verdi's captivating melodrama, running through Saturday, 23 December.

Un Ballo in maschera 

by Giuseppe Verdi


Sunday, 17 December - 3:30pm

Wednesday, 20 December - 7pm

Friday, 22 December - 8pm

Saturday, 23 December - 3:30pm



A sold-out Teatro Filarmonico witnessed a remarkable event on Sunday, 17 December – the premiere of “Un Ballo in maschera”, the final show of the 2023 Opera Season, drawing an audience of 1,200. Last Friday's “School Previews” (Anteprima Scuola) initiative – a special rehearsal open to young audiences – saw an impressive turnout of over 600 students from Verona and beyond. This not only underscores the growing interest of schools in Fondazione Arena's winter season but also marks a record for Arena Young, a pioneering initiative designed to engage new generations through educational initiatives in opera and music. This exciting season finale serves as a fitting conclusion to the centennial celebrations of the Fondazione's 100-year anniversary.


Verdi’s unmissable opera returns more than two decades since its last appearance at the Filarmonico, directed by Marina Bianchi, in a timeless production set against the backdrop of the Regio di Parma, showcasing rediscovered scenes from 1913, painted by Carmignani. Found in an old trunk, backdrops and paper prints boasting an extraordinary three-dimensional effect make an appearance on stage after more than a century. “Un Ballo in maschera”, a masterpiece featuring exquisite voice artistry, weaves a narrative of melodies, passions, and twists, featuring a stellar cast conducted by Maestro Francesco Ivan Ciampa. The incredible ensemble features Luciano Ganci in the pivotal role of the Governor, accompanied by the baritone Simone Piazzola portraying his friend and unwitting romantic rival. The role of Primadonna sees alternating performances by Maria Josè Siri and Daria Masiero. The enchanting performances of “Un Ballo in maschera” will grace the stage throughout the week, with subsequent performances on Wednesday, 20 December, at 7pm, Friday, 22 December at 8pm, and at the earlier time of 3:30pm on Saturday, 23 December for the final matinee. 


Verdi's theatrical masterpiece, “Un Ballo in Maschera”, originated from an earlier work by Auber inspired by the real-life assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden. The planned opera, “Vendetta in Domino”, faced significant censorship challenges in Naples and Rome, where it eventually debuted in 1859. The success of this performance was so immense that it contributed to the birth of the acronym “Viva V.E.R.D.I.” in pre-unified Italy. Since then, “Un Ballo in Maschera” has remained a steadfast presence in the repertoire, captivating audiences globally, including 45 performances at the Arena from 1932 to 2014 and a single appearance at the Teatro Filarmonico in 2002. 

The narrative shifts from the Swedish Enlightenment Court to 1600s Boston, still an English colony, where Governor Count Richard, surrounded by friends like Renato and supporters, faces brewing animosity, leading to plots to kill him. Against a backdrop of political entanglements, a profound love story unfolds, creating an irreconcilable conflict between love and loyalty. Riccardo harbours a secret love for Amelia, the wife of his closest friend Renato. Verdi's passionate music is coupled with infrequent yet perfectly balanced supernatural elements, embodied by the fortune-teller Ulrica, and humorous elements, brought to life by the light-hearted page Oscar, Riccardo's alter ego. Verdi masterfully weaves a kaleidoscope of colours and characters, showcasing psychological and orchestral finesse, along with some of the most beautiful and enduring melodies in the operatic repertoire. 

Verona bears witness to the stellar performances of a distinguished international cast in “Un Ballo in Maschera”. The renowned tenor Luciano Ganci, celebrated for his past successes at the Arena and eagerly anticipated for his Filarmonico debut, takes on the role of Riccardo. The illustrious soprano Maria Josè Siri graces the stage as Amelia (for the performances on 20, and 23), with Daria Masiero stepping into the role on 22 December. Meanwhile, the Veronese baritone Simone Piazzola plays the character of Renato. The lively role of the page Oscar, known for his sparkling presence en travesti, is portrayed by the talented soprano Enkeleda Kamani. The role of the mystical Ulrica is brought to life by the mezzo-soprano Anna Maria Chiuri, while the conspirators Samuel and Tom are skilfully portrayed by the basses Romano Dal Zovo and Nicolò Donini. Completing the ensemble are Fabio Previati as the sailor Silvano, and Salvatore Schiano di Cola, taking on the dual roles of judge and servant to Amelia. 

Taking the helm of the Fondazione Arena Orchestra's podium is the accomplished maestro Francesco Ivan Ciampa, a young and highly acclaimed conductor who has garnered praise in Verona, particularly during the summer Opera Festival. Joining forces with the orchestra, the Choir, skilfully prepared by Roberto Gabbiani, plays an active role on stage, collaborating with mimes, extras, and Fondazione Arena’s technicians. 

Under the expert direction of Marina Bianchi, the production showcases the timeless scenes crafted by Giuseppe Carmignani for the Teatro Regio in Parma in 1913, coinciding with Verdi's centenary, which was also commemorated in Verona with the very first Aida at the Arena. In collaboration with the Auditorio de Tenerife, the Parma institution has meticulously restored and rearranged the canvases. Spearheading this effort is Leila Fteita, serving as the coordinator for stage space and props. The production also features new costumes designed by Lorena Marin and lighting by Andrea Borelli. 


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