February 1 at 7pm
Giuseppe Verdi's Un ballo in maschera | Opera Colorado 2007

Photo credit: Matthew Staver

CAST
King Gustav Frank Lopardo, tenor
Amelia Erin Wood, soprano
Oscar Heidi Stober, soprano
Mam'zelle Arvidson Nancy Maultsby, mezzo-soprano
Anckarström
Charles Taylor, baritone
Count Horn David Cushing, bass-baritone
Count Ribbing
Christopher Job, bass-baritone
Chief Magistrate
Chester Pidduck, tenor
Cristiano Gregory Bruce, baritone
Amelia's Servant Steven Walz, tenor
Opera Colorado Chorus John Baril, director
Colorado Symphony Orchestra    David Agler

 

SYNOPSIS.

ACT I 

Scene 1. Two groups of men await King Gustavus: his officers and supporters, and Counts Horn and Ribbing and their followers who plot against him. Oscar, a page, announces the king’s arrival. As the King collects his subjects’ petitions, Oscar offers him the list of invitations to the forthcoming ball.

Seeing his beloved Amelia’s name on the list, Gustavus grows both passionate and worried, as Amelia’s husband is Captain Anckarström, the king’s secretary and confidant. Everyone notices the king’s concern:  his men think he is considering their petitions, and Horn and Ribbing’s men decide that this is not a good time to attack. Anckarström arrives and suggests that the king is worried about the conspirators. Unconcerned for his own safety, Gustavus is relieved that Anckarström doesn’t suspect his secret.

The Chief Justice arrives with a document for the king to sign, banishing the gypsy fortuneteller Mam’zelle Arvidson. Oscar defends Mam’zelle, and the king invites his men to join him in disguise and visit the gypsy’s cave. 

Scene 2. In her cave, Mam’zelle tells a young soldier’s fortune:  he will soon receive payment and promotion for his fifteen years of brave service to the king. King Gustavus makes her prophecy come true by hiding money and a note in the soldier’s pocket. The soldier finds the note—a promotion, signed by the king himself!—and all cheer for Mam’zelle Arvidson.

Amelia arrives through a secret door as Mam’zelle sends the others away so she can advise Amelia privately. As the king, disguised, eavesdrops from an alcove, Amelia confesses that she needs to purify her heart of her love for him. Mam’zelle prescribes a potion for Amelia to make from an herb that she must gather by herself from the graveyard at midnight.

The others return, and the king asks for his fortune to be told. Under protest, Mam’zelle predicts that he will be killed by the next friend to shake his hand. The king laughs, but no one will shake his hand. Anckarström arrives, the king clasps his hand, Anckarström recognizes the king, and the soldier returns with a crowd to sing the king’s praises.

Act II

Terrified, Amelia enters the cemetery at midnight. King Gustavus appears, having followed her after hearing her session with Mam’zelle Arvidson. Amelia and the king sing of their love and their remorse.

Captain Anckarström arrives, having followed the king to warn him of the conspirators. Amelia pulls her veil over her face. The king agrees to trade cloaks with Anckarström and flee to safety, on condition that Anckarström escort his mysterious companion—the veiled Amelia—to the city without looking at her or speaking to her. 

Horn, Ribbing, and the conspirators taunt Anckarström and Amelia on their way. Disappointed to find Anckarström instead of the king, they threaten to lift Amelia’s veil. Anckarström draws his sword to protect her, still in loyalty to the king. Amelia throws herself between the conspirators and her husband, and drops her veil. All are shocked:  the conspirators in laughter, and Anckarström in humiliation and rage. Anckarström invites Horn and Ribbing to meet him the next morning, and then escorts his wife to the gates of the city as promised.

Act III 

Scene 1. The next morning in the Anckarströms’ home, Captain Anckarström tells Amelia that he will kill her. He doesn’t believe her protestations of innocence, but grants her wish to see their son one last time. As she leaves, he decides that the king deserves to die, but not Amelia.

Horn and Ribbing arrive and are surprised to learn that Captain Anckarström wants to join their plot, as long as Anckarström has the privilege of killing the king. Horn and Ribbing each state their grudges against Gustavus, and they agree to draw lots. Amelia returns, and Anckarström commands her to select one of their names from a vase. Oscar arrives to invite everyone to the masked ball.

Scene 2. Before the ball, the king writes a document posting the Anckarströms to Finland so that he cannot be tempted by the sight of Amelia. Oscar delivers an anonymous note from Amelia warning that someone will attempt to kill the king during the ball. Wanting to see Amelia, and not wanting to seem a coward, Gustavus ignores the message.

Scene 3. At the ball, Anckarström tricks Oscar into identifying the king’s costume. Amelia, disguised, recognizes the king and again warns him. When she sobs, he recognizes her voice and they declare their love while she again begs him to flee. As they say their last farewell Captain Anckarström appears and stabs the king.

The crowd tears off Anckarström’s mask. With his last breaths, the king pardons him and the conspirators and assures Anckarström that Amelia has remained pure. The crowd exclaims at their grand and noble king and at the night of horror.

- Courtesy of Opera Colorado -

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