The National Opera Company of Korea’s upcoming production “Un Ballo in Maschera” (A Masked Ball) will be a modern reinterpretation of Verdi’s opera with urban stage designs and black-and-white lighting effects, opera director Jang Soo-dong said.
The opera company is to showcase “Un Ballo in Maschera” from Oct. 13 to Oct. 16 at the Seoul Arts Center’s Opera Theater which will be the seventh and the last work of the company’s 2011 season.
“Among Verdi operas, this work has particularly magnificent music. While a mask represents a face with anonymity, there will be many mirrors on stage to show another side of ‘self,’” Jang told reporters on Tuesday.
“We created a contradicting concept by using masks and mirrors together. And it has led us to do a modern work.”
In seven scenes in total, there will be a lot of metallic materials and glasses to describe a virtual city at a virtual time, he said.
“At the ending scene of a masked ball, lighting effects will be maximized,” Jang said.
Baritone Ko Sung-hyun (right) speaks at a press conference in Seoul, Tuesday. On the left is “Un Ballo in Maschera” director Jang Su-dong. (National Opera Company of Korea)
Opera “Un Ballo in Maschera,” consisting of three acts, is based on the true story of the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden in 1792 and premiered in Rome in 1859.
Reflecting Italians’ hope for reunion under French rule in the late 19th century and delivering messages of forgiveness and reconciliation, Verdi’s opera received an enthusiastic response from Roman citizens at its premier.
The opera tells the love and psychological conflicts between three leading characters, Riccardo, Renato and Amelia. After staging a successful revolution, Riccardo takes the throne but falls in love with Amelia, the wife of his friend Renato. It is a typical Italian melodrama.
Tenor Jeong Eui-geun, who plays the role of Riccardo with Kim Joong-il in double cast, said he will focus on showing as many colors as he can in his vocals.
“I am performing the role for the first time in 10 years and it is a very touching role because I have to show a wide range of voice colors from a mischievous one to a dramatic one,” Jeong said.
Bariton Ko Sung-hyun, who plays Renato with Seok Sang-geun in double cast, said the story itself is interesting enough for the audiences to ponder their relationships with their spouses.
Soprano Lim Se-kyung and Lee Jeong-a will play the role of Amelia in double cast.
Italian conductor by Marco Balderi will lead the Korea Symphony Orchestra with the Seoul Metropolitan Chorus.
“Un Ballo in Maschera” will be staged at the Seoul Arts Center’s Opera Theater at 7:30 p.m. on weekdays, Saturday and at 5 p.m. on Sunday from Oct. 13-16. Tickets range from 10,000 won to 150,000 won. For details, call (02) 586-5284.
By Kim Yoon-mi (email@example.com