Sunday, September 05, 2010

"Un giorno di regno" by Giuseppe Verdi

In conducting my research into Un giorno di regno - Giuseppe Verdi's second opera, which debuted at Milano's Teatro alla Scala on this day in 1840 - I came across this helpful video, posted by YouTube user coloraturafan, which attempts to give not only a condensed rendering of the opera itself but some insight into this production of it as well. Since I find many opera mavens less than helpful when it comes to letting others in on just what's so great about the medium, I applaud coloraturafan for his efforts...

Un giorno di regno (aka The One-Day Reign, or King For a Day) was Verdi's first attempt at a comic opera, and concerned itself with the War of the Polish Succession embroiling its central figure, the historical King Stanisław Leszczyński. With a libretto by Felice Romani, it was met with a poor reception, which the composer witnessed from his seat in the orchestra pit. After the curtain rang down on that first performance the remainder of the run was cancelled. Soor poorly was it received that it would not be revived in the theatre where it premiered until 2001.

Verdi later blamed the opera's failure on his own personal turmoil; while in the process of writing it, his first wife Margherita Barezzi and their two infant children died - precisely the sort of events which would sap even the greatest comedic mind of its sense of humour.
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