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Simon Boccanegra, 27 Jun – 16 Jul 2013 (London)

Overview

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.

Elijah Moshinsky depicts the rise and tragic fall of Simon Boccanegra in a powerful production.

Paolo Albiani, a plebeian, tells his ally Pietro that in the forthcoming election of the Doge, his choice for the plebeian candidate is Simon Boccanegra. Boccanegra arrives and is persuaded to stand when Paolo hints that if Boccanegra becomes Doge, the aristocratic Jacopo Fiesco will surely allow him to wed his daughter Maria. When Boccanegra has gone, Paolo gossips about Boccanegra’s love affair with Maria Fiesco – Boccanegra and Maria have had a child, and the furious Fiesco has locked his daughter away in his palace. Pietro rallies a crowd of citizens to support Boccanegra. After the crowd has dispersed, Fiesco comes out of his palace, stricken with grief; Maria has just died (Il lacerato spirito – “The tortured soul of a sad father”). He swears vengeance on Boccanegra for destroying his family. When he meets Boccanegra he does not inform him of Maria’s death. Boccanegra offers reconciliation and Fiesco promises clemency only if Boccanegra lets him have his granddaughter. Boccanegra explains he cannot because the child, put in the care of a nurse, has vanished. He enters the palace and finds the body of his beloved just before crowds pour in, hailing him as the new Doge.

Twenty-five years have passed and the Doge has exiled many of his political opponents and confiscated their property. Among them is Fiesco, who has been living in the Grimaldi palace, using the name Andrea Grimaldi to avoid discovery and plotting with Boccanegra’s enemies to overthrow the Doge. The Grimaldis have adopted an orphaned child of unknown parentage after discovering her in a convent (she is in fact Boccanegra’s child and Fiesco’s granddaughter). They called her Amelia, hoping that she would be the heir to their family’s fortune, their sons having been exiled and their own baby daughter having died. Amelia is now a young woman.

Date
27 Jun – 16 Jul 2013
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