WITH THE SUPPORT OF TAX SHELTER OF THE BELGIAN FEDERAL GOVERNEMENT AND CASA KAFKA PICTURES
LIBRETTO BY FRANCESCO MARIA PIAVE
BASED ON A SPANISH MUSICAL DRAMA BY THE DUKE OF RIVAS DON ALVARO O LA FUERZA DE SINO
When destiny comes to the theatre, opera singers tremble. The many delays to the first performance of La Forza del Destino were mainly linked to the death, at 29 years old, of Angelina Bosio and the withdrawal of Emma La Grua, both of whom were supposed to play the role of Leonora, one of the most complete roles in the repertoire. Verdi took the time to fine-tune it for Caroline Barbot in Russia and then for Teresa Stolz in Milan.
Verdi, encouraged by the people, had considered giving his career a political turn by abandoning his composer’s pen to become a member of parliament in the newly united Italy. In 1861, he nonetheless accepted a commission from Tsar Alexander II and, after many twists and turns, La Forza del Destino was successfully performed for the first time at the Imperial Theatre in Saint Petersburg under the supervision of the composer himself. Overflowing with unforgettable vocal gems, the work is, aesthetically, a corner stone of the master’s works and heralds the modernity of Don Carlos and Aida. The composer then decided to remould the work and flesh out its music. The first performance of the new version took place at La Scala in Milan in 1869 and met with enormous success. It also witnessed Verdi’s return to the great opera house of Milan in which he had not set foot since 1845!
From an original idea by Stefano Mazzonis di Pralafera †