La Gioconda

Amilcare Ponchielli (1834 – 1886)

Information on the piece

Opera in 4 acts;
Libretto by Tobia Gorrio (Arrigo Boito), Tobia Gorrio [Arrigo Boito], loosely based on the play "Angelo, tyran de Padoue" by Victor Hugo;
First performance on 8th April, 1876 at Milan;
Premiered at the Deutsche Oper Berlin on 1st March, 1974

4 hrs 45 mins / 3 intervals

In Italian with German and English surtitles

Pre-performance lecture (in German): 45 minutes prior to each performance

recommended from 16 years
Share this post
About the performance

About the work
Uplifting solos, an opulent set design and epic crowd scenes are among the attractions of this gaudy show from the pen of Amilcare Ponchielli, a blend of French grand opéra and folk opera. With its themes of love, passion and hatred, the story revolving around Gioconda, a singer, is tailor-made for the genre. The musically multifarious work is a delight on all levels with its lovely melodies and the famous “Dance of the Hours”, a ballet interlude accompanied by orchestra that remains a catchy and popular number.

The setting is 17th-century Venice. Gioconda is in love with Enzo, a young nobleman, who in turn loves Laura, the wife of Alvise Badoero. Complicating this tangle is the intriguing of Barnaba, a government spy, who is infatuated with Gioconda and will stop at nothing to possess her. Gioconda for her part is torn between her feelings for Enzo and her need to care for her blind and elderly mother, who is never far from her side. Barnaba’s web of lust and loathing gradually ensnarls Gioconda and brings her down. Once Enzo has overcome dangers and fled with Laura, never to return, Gioconda sees only one way out of her woe. Barnaba, smugly believing Gioconda to be his, can only look on as she kills herself.

Born in 1834 in Paderno Fasolaro, near Cremona, and dying in 1886 in Milan, Amilcare Ponchielli is known primarily as the composer of LA GIOCONDA, although he wrote twelve operas in total. However, elements such as the specifically Venetian colour and his highlighting of the traits of individual characters serving almost as leitmotifs reveal that Ponchielli, as a mentor to Pietro Mascagni and Giacomo Puccini, contributed significantly to the rise of verismo in late-19th-century Italy.

About the production
In the early 1970s the Italian director and set designer Filippo Sanjust made a remarkable discovery. In a colleague’s props workshop in Rome he stumbled on the original dismantled set for Amilcare Ponchielli’s LA GIOCONDA, the decorations dating back to the opera’s composition in the late 19th century, 3-dimensional, meticulously painted scenery recalling Renaissance Venice. Some of the sections are even likely to have been used in the world premiere – all preserved, along with the original costume designs. Sanjust instantly set his sights on resurrecting this piece of theatre history. He approached the Deutsche Oper Berlin, where his projects had included the design of a TOSCA set, and convinced the opera house to buy up the decor and allow him to direct the production. Since then, every time Ponchielli’s opera featuring the self-sacrifice of Gioconda the street singer is staged at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, it features the original, lovingly maintained set.


News about the schedule
and the start of advance booking
Personal recommendations
Special offers ...
Stay well informed!

Subscribe to our newsletter

Subscribe to our Newsletter and receive 25% off your next ticket purchase.

* Mandatory field



Advents-Verlosung: Das 2. Fensterchen

In today's Advent calendar window, we are giving away 3 DVDs of "Der Schatzgräber" - an opera in a prelude, four acts and a postlude by Franz Schreker. If you would like to win one of the three DVDs, please send an e-mail today with the subject "The 2nd window" to

DER SCHATZGRÄBER (THE TREASURE HUNTER) by Franz Schreker was a triumph at its world premiere in Frankfurt in 1920 and went on to play 44 times at assorted venues over the next five years. It then fell victim to a shifting zeitgeist and slipped from opera-house programmes, with a National Socialist ban on performances sealing its demise. Even after 1945 the Schreker revival was a long time coming – and THE TREASURE HUNTER has not featured prominently in the renaissance.

As with the vast majority of Schreker’s libretti, the story of Els and Elis explores the relationship between fantasy and reality, between art and life. Soulmates in the sense that they are both at the mercy of the king’s disposition, Els and Elis set off in search of different treasures. Elis, the minstrel, uses his magic lute to locate a stash of jewels and do humanity a good turn. Els, an innkeeper’s daughter who has grown up motherless in a tough, male-chauvinist world, becomes a liar, cheat and murderess in pursuit of her goal, tasking her suitors to steal the queen’s jewels and then having them killed once they have returned with the haul of treasure. Yet even with the gold in their possession, the pair are not content, and so, true to form, Schreker turns his attention to the theme of yearning per se, which is the actual “treasure” that the composer is interested in, “a dream of happiness and redemption”. Elis and Els are caught up in a swirl of dreams, memories, premonitions, songs and music. Their stories take on a dreamlike quality in a world beset by greed, murder and emotional inconstancy. For Franz Schreker the path to redemption could only be via art. Composed during the turmoil of the First World War, the TREASURE HUNTER score amounts to Schreker’s personal confession of artistic faith, executed in florid strokes of late-Romantic musical colour.

Conductor Marc Albrecht; Staging Christof Loy; Set design Johannes Leiacker; Costume design Barbara Drosihn; With Tuomas Pursio, Doke Pauwels, Clemens Bieber, Michael Adams, Joel Allison, Michael Laurenz, Thomas Johannes Mayer, Seth Carico, Daniel Johansson, Gideon Poppe, Stephen Bronk, Elisabet Strid, Patrick Cook, Tyler Zimmerman a. o.; Chorus and Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin

Closing date: 2 December 2023, the winners will be informed by email on 4 December 2023. The DVDs will then be sent by post. Legal recourse is excluded.