Opera Rara & The Hallé to present concert performance of Verdi’s ‘SIMON BOCCANEGRA’ (1857 Version) at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall

Opera Rara is teaming up with its former Artistic Director Sir Mark Elder and The Hallé to present a concert performance of the original 1857 version of Verdi’s celebrated opera, Simon Boccanegra, which will take place at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall on Thursday 18 April 2024.

Edited by Opera Rara’s Repertoire Consultant Roger Parker for Casa Ricordi, this new edition of the 1857 version of Verdi’s opera is the first to be based on the composer’s original autograph score, which only recently became available to scholars.

This concert performance is part of Elder’s final season as The Hallé’s Music Director and the finale of his opera series with the Orchestra.

Simon Boccanegra was famously not a success when it first premiered at Venice’s Teatro La Fenice in 1857. Featuring simpler and more declamatory vocal lines, this first version of the opera was written in a style at odds with what audiences had grown accustomed to hearing from the composer. More than 20 years later, Verdi was persuaded by his publisher to thoroughly revise the work, and the second version of 1881 is the Simon Boccanegra that ended up taking its place amongst the Verdi ‘canon’ we know today.

Nicola Alaimo will take up the title role as the Doge and is joined by Eleonora Buratto as Amelia and William Thomas as Jacopo Fiesco, both making their Opera Rara debuts, as well as Iván Ayón-Rivas, who returns to Opera Rara as Gabriele Adorno.

This is Opera Rara’s fourth collaboration with The Hallé following Donizetti’s Rita (ORC50), Le Duc d’Albe (ORC54) and Gounod’s La Colombe (ORC53).

Best known for its restoration and revival of bel canto operas, particularly those of Donizetti, Opera Rara previously released a series of Verdi ‘firsts’ in collaboration with the BBC. Its live recordings from the 1970s included the original 1867 French version of Don Carlos, the original 1862 St Petersburg version of La forza del destino, and the original 1857 version of Simon Boccanegra.

With the latter now no longer available, Opera Rara will commit the original Simon Boccanegra to disc for the first time ever under studio conditions for release in 2025. The recording will be produced the week prior to its Manchester concert.

For more information, and to book tickets, please visit: halle.co.uk/event/verdi-simon-boccanegra/

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