Performed in the original Italian with Czech and English subtitles.
A drama set in Venice
Today Italian opera from the second half of the 19th century is inextricably linked with the names of Verdi and Puccini. Verdi’s contemporary Amilcare Ponchielli stands somewhat quietly to one side. However, his La Gioconda is undoubtedly one of the highlights of Italian music from the period. Its premiere at La Scala in 1876 met with great success and the critics said that Ponchielli was the one composer able to follow Verdi in the genre of “great opera”. The librettist Arrigo Boito reworked Victor Hugo’s play Angelo, Tyrant of Padua, transferring the entire plot to Venice in the 17th century. The tragic story of the singer Giocando, who sacrifices herself to allow others to love, lent itself directly to large-scale musical treatment. Large choruses, the famous ballet number The Dance of the Hours, Enzo’s aria Cielo e mar and Laura’s prayer – all of this represents the best of 19th-century Italian opera.
Premiere 4th February 2017, Janáček Theatre