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Giuseppe Verdi

Un Ballo in Maschera

Librettist: Antonio Somma
Based on Gustave III ou Le bal masqué by Eugène Scribe

Cast of Characters

  • Gustave III, Tenor, the King of Sweeden
  • Il Conte Anckarström, Baritone, his secretary
  • Amelia, Soprano, his wife
  • Ulrica, Mezzo-Soprano, Fortune teller
  • Oscar, Soprano, the King's page
  • Christiano, Bass, a Sailor
  • Horn, Bass, a noble and enemy of the King
  • Ribbing, Bass, a noble and enemy of the King
  • A Judge, Tenor
  • Amelia's Servant, Tenor
  • Nobles, deputies gaurds, followers of Horn and Ribbing, sailors, populace of Sweden, servants, Maskers and dancing couples.


Stockholm, Sweeden in March 1792.


17th February 1859; Teatro Apollo, Rome, Italy.


Gustave III is in love with his Secretary's wife Amelia. At a fortune teller's hut, Gustave learns that Amelia also harbors feelings for him. Ulrica, the fortune teller, prophesies Gustave's death at the hands of a friend. Later that evening, Amelia goes to pick herbs to be used by Ulrica in a potion to cure Amelia of her ill-fated love. Instead, Gustave arrives and a passionate duet ensues. Amelia hears someone coming down the path towards them and sees her husband, Anckarström. He has come to warn Gustave of an attack by the conspirators. Gustave leaves Amelia, who has drawn her veil over her head, in the custody of Anckarström with orders to go to the city gates and walk their separate ways. The conspirators arrive and find Anckarström in the King's place. They ask to see his girl's identity and threaten physical violence unless the woman complies. Amelia drops her veil to the amusement of the conspirators and horror of her husband. Anckarström becomes driven by his need for vengeance.

Memorable sections of music

La rivedrà nell' estasi
Di' tu se fedele
Ecco l'orrido campo

Love Duet: Teco io sto
Morrò, ma prima in grazia
Eri tu che macchiavi quell'anima
Forse la soglia attinse
Saper Vorreste

Copyright © 1996 by Stephen L. Parker.