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An Afternoon Concert


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National Orchestra of Wales
(Cerddorfa Genedlaethol Cymru)
(Leader, Louis Levitus)
Conducted by Warwick Braithwaite

The plot of Verdi's Masked Ball was founded on actual history, and, as the libretto was first written, it dealt with the murder of King Gustav III of Sweden. When the opera was about to make its appearance, an attempt on the life of Napoleon III had just been made and the Italian authorities would not hear of an opera which centred round an incident so nearly similar, and Verdi was told that the story would have to be drastically altered. He refused to do anything of the kind, and the news of the disagreement between him and the authorities soon became known. Popular feeling was very much on the side of Verdi, and wherever he went crowds followed him, shouting their loyalty. Eventually, it was decided that though the story might remain as it stood, the scene and the people would all have to be re-named, and the setting was accordingly removed to the United States, at that time far enough away from Italy to be to all intents and purposes out of their world.
This aria is the best innings in the opera for the baritone. He sings it to a portrait of his master, accusing him of treachery in having stolen the affections of his wife. It is a fine example of Verdi's wonderful gift of melody.


Musicians: National Orchestra of Wales
Orchestra leader: Louis Levitus
Conductor: Warwick Braithwaite

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