Milano: Tito di Gio. Ricordi [PNs 31031-59], . Oblong folio. Contemporary half dark brown calf with marbled boards, spine in decorative compartments gilt, titling gilt. 1f. (recto title within decorative border printed in red, verso blank), 1f. (recto index of 29 numbers, verso named cast list), 5-323, [i] (blank) pp. Each number with separate plate number as well as both separate and continuous pagination.
With publisher's corner blindstamp "T.R. 61" to first 12 leaves.
Named cast includes Fraschini as Riccardo, Giraldoni as Renato, Julienne-Dejean as Amelia, Sbriscia as Ulrica, Scotti as Oscar, Santucci as Silvano, Bossi as Samuel, and Bernardoni as Tom.
Binding slightly worn and rubbed; corners and spine restored. Minor foxing, thumbing, and creasing to upper outer corners; outer corners of title repaired. A very good copy overall.
First complete edition. Hopkinson 59A(a), with title mis-transcribed "da" instead of "di" in the third line and "Rappresentata" instead of "Rappresentato" in the fifth line. Chusid p. 31. Crawford p. 574.
First performed in Rome at the Teatro Apollo on February 17, 1859.
"Un ballo in maschera [to a libretto by Antonio Somma after Eugène Scribe’s libretto Gustave III, ou Le bal masqué]... is a masterpiece of variety, of the blending of stylistic elements. Verdi’s experiment with a ‘pure’ version of French grand opera in the mid-1850s, Les vêpres siciliennes, was not entirely happy; here we see him instead gesturing to the lighter side of French opera, primarily with the character of Oscar, but also in aspects of Riccardo’s musical personality. The juxtaposition of this style with the intense, interior version of Italian serious opera that Verdi had preferred in the early 1850s is extremely bold, particularly in sections such as Act 1 scene ii (where Riccardo confronts Ulrica) or in the finale to Act 2 (the so-called laughing chorus), in both of which the two styles meet head on with little mediation. One of the reasons why the blend is so successful is that Verdi’s treatment of the traditional forms at the backbone of his ‘Italian’ manner were themselves changing, adapting towards the more elliptical manner of French models. Ballo is notable for the shortness and intensity of its principal arias, for the absence of grand design... Another reason for the opera’s success undoubtedly lies in its delicate balance of musical personalities." Roger Parker in Grove Music Online. Item #28090
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