Simon Boccanegra

Giuseppe Verdi [1813 – 1901]

Information on the piece

Opera in an prologue and three acts
Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave
First performance on 12th March, 1857 in Venice
Premiere at the Deutsche Oper Berlin on 29 January 2023

recommended from 15 years

3 hrs / with interval

In Italian with German and English surtitles

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

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About the performance

For Verdi, writing opera meant adopting a stance towards the world. It meant getting involved, speaking out and exploring political issues onstage. And few of his works portray the price that an individual has to pay for political power as drastically as SIMON BOCCANEGRA. By dint of his military triumphs, the buccaneer Simon Boccanegra has won fame and prestige in his home town of Genoa. To break the dominance of the ruling aristocracy, Paolo, the leader of the plebeians, seeks to have Simon elected to the office of Doge. Simon, however, is in a relationship with Maria, the daughter of Fiesco, the senior patrician, a coupling that, in its turn, has produced a daughter. Fiesco refuses to let the pair marry and shuts his daughter away in his palace, where she soon dies. Simon discovers the body of his lover there shortly before he is elected Doge. Their daughter, Leonora, has vanished from her foster family, however, only to reappear 25 years later and become embroiled in the ongoing party-political struggles.

The work is staged by the Russian director Vasily Barkhatov, whose most recent work has been for the Staatsoper Hannover, the Lithuanian National Opera and the Theater Basel and who makes his debut at the Theater an der Wien in May 2020 with NORMA. His first work for the Deutsche Oper Berlin was in autumn 2017 with his new production of Aribert Reimann’s L’INVISIBLE. He now returns with SIMON BOCCANEGRA.

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