Ponchielli’s La Gioconda is the only Italian opera from the difficult period between Verdi’s Aida (1871) and Otello (1887) that had enduring popularity. 130 years after its 1876 premiere in Venice, the opera is performed in the Verona arena. Under the baton of Donato Renzetti, the Choir, Orchestra, and Ballet Corps of Verona present an irresistible La Gioconda.
In 17th century Venice, opera was breaking hearts and changing destinies. Power and love, sacrifice and treachery, poison and vengeance… all the elements of a perfect melodrama come together. By adapting Victor Hugo’s tragedy Angelo, tyran de Padoue, Boito developped in particular the terrible character Barnaba, a spy in the service of the Council of Ten. With his extended, sensually and charming melodies, Ponchielli’s music grows out of the melodrama tradition established by Donizetti. His airs highlight the best registers of the beautiful Italian voices, captivating a bedazzled public.