La Gioconda

Budapest, Hungarian State Opera
Budapest, Hungary
Erkel Theatre
Thu 13 February 19:00
View Seating Chart
Synopsis
Background
Enzo Grimaldo, the duke of Genoa, has been banned from Venice. He is in love with Laura, who has been married off to Alvise Badoero, a leader of the State Inquisitors. Enzo has returned to Venice in disguise, where a young courtesan named Gioconda has fallen in love with him. Gioconda, for her part, has attracted the amorous attentions of Barnaba, a spy with the Inquisition.
Act I – The Lion’s Mouth
In the court of the Venetian Doge’s palace, Barnaba watches the crowd flowing to the regatta. For him, all other people are simply tools to achieve his aims. However, there is one thing that he has not yet managed to obtain: Gioconda, with whom he is hopelessly in love. In his despair, he decides to use Gioconda’s blind mother, La Cieca, to bind the young woman to him.
Shouting hurrahs, the crowd accompanies the winner of the regatta to the square. Barnaba convinces Zuàne, one of the competitors, that the reason he lost is because La Cieca is a witch and put a hex on his vessel. Barnaba succeeds in inciting the crowd against her, and the attempts of Gioconda and Enzo, the object of her affections, to save the sightless woman from being lynched are no use. However, now arriving are Alvise and his wife, Laura – though she is wearing a mask, she and Enzo recognised each other. The lady comes to La Cieca’s defence, and her husband grants her request: the “witch” is to receive clemency. The grateful woman presents Laura with the gift of her rosary.
The square empties. Intrigued by Laura and Enzo’s behaviour, Barnaba discovers the identity of the brooding man: he is no Dalmatian sailor, but rather the prince of Genoa, who has been banned from Venice. Barnaba then reveals to Enzo that he works for the Council of Ten. Although repulsed by him, Enzo accepts his offer: that night, with Barnaba’s help, Enzo will run off with Laura.
After Enzo departs, Barnaba dictates a letter to the scribe informing Alvise that his wife is planning to abscond with Enzo that night. Unseen to him, Gioconda hears it all.
Act II – The Rosary
On a ship in the lagoon, Enzo awaits Laura. The lovers happily embrace. Enzo departs to check that the preparations for their flight are all set. Left alone, Laura prays for the Virgin Mother to help her in this dangerous juncture in her life. Gioconda arrives on the vessel and is about to kill her rival when she sees Alvise’s boat approaching and decides to let her competitor suffer the vengeance of her deceived husband. When she notices that Laura is wearing her mother’s rosary, though, she recognises Laura as their rescuer and herself helps Laura escape.
When Enzo returns, Gioconda lies to him that Laura’s love was not strong enough, so she left the ship. At the same time, she warns him that Alvise is approaching. Instead of fleeing, Enzo sets fire to his own ship.
Act III – The Ca’ d’Oro palace
Alvise is about to take vengeance on his wife, but when they face each other, he is not able to kill her. He nevertheless gives her poison and instructs her to end her own life. Gioconda listens in on them and, when Alvise leaves his wife to herself, takes the poison away from Laura and replaces it with a sedative that will make her appear dead.
In the ballroom, dancers entertain the guests with an unusual allegorical dance alluding to the passage of time, the Dance of the Hours. The funeral bell tolls. After learning that they are tolling for Laura, Enzo reveals himself: he is the prince of Genoa, whom Alvise has robbed of his homeland and his love. Overcome with despair, Gioconda swears an oath to Barnaba: if he helps rescue Enzo, she will give herself to the spy.
Act IV – The Orfano Canal
Gioconda has had the still-drugged Laura taken to her home. The unhappy woman considers suicide: the man she loves is in love with someone else, and her mother has vanished without a trace. Enzo arrives, completely unaware that Laura is still alive. Deeply enraged after Gioconda informs him that she has robbed his beloved’s body from the grave, he is about to strike her down, but then a feeble voice is heard in the background: Laura has regained consciousness. She recognises Gioconda as her rescuer, who now urges the loving couple to flee.
Left alone, Gioconda suddenly remembers her alliance with Barnaba. She prepares to flee, but it is too late: the spy has already arrived. The girl pretends to primp herself for the smitten Barnaba, and then suddenly shoots him. But the situation turns out to be a losing one for everyone, as the dying Barnaba cries out his final misdeed to Gioconda: he has strangled her mother. Gioconda is left alone with the vial of poison in her hand.
Credits
General cast
Conductor
Gergely Kesselyák
Gioconda
Anikó Bakonyi / Eszter Sümegi
La Cieca, Gioconda’s blind mother
Kiss Judit Anna univ. stud. / Bernadett Wiedemann
Barnaba
Levente Molnár / Alexandru Agache
Enzo Grimaldo
Gergely Boncsér
Laura Adonro
Anna Fürjes univ. stud. / Erika Gál
Alvise Badoero, chief of the State Inquisition, husband of Laura
Krisztián Cser / Gábor Bretz
Zuàne, a competitor in the regatta
András Kőrösi
Isèpo, a scribe
Ferenc Kristofori
A priest / A street singer / A voice from afar
N.N.
Another voice from afar
N.N.
Dancers
N.N.
Venetian spies
N.N.
Credits
Librettist
Arrigo Boito
Director
András Almási-Tóth
Artistic consultant
Éva Marton
Set designer
Éva Szendrényi
Graphics used in set design created by
Margit Balla
Costume designer
Bori Tóth
Lighting designer
Bányai Tamás
Choreographer
Dóra Barta
Hungarian surtitles
Judit Kenesey
English surtitles
Arthur Roger Crane
Assistant set designer
Fruzsina Augusztinyi
Chorus director
Gábor Csiki

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  • Seating Chart
    Erkel Theatre
  • Synopsis

    Background
    Enzo Grimaldo, the duke of Genoa, has been banned from Venice. He is in love with Laura, who has been married off to Alvise Badoero, a leader of the State Inquisitors. Enzo has returned to Venice in disguise, where a young courtesan named Gioconda has fallen in love with him. Gioconda, for her part, has attracted the amorous attentions of Barnaba, a spy with the Inquisition.

    Act I – The Lion’s Mouth
    In the court of the Venetian Doge’s palace, Barnaba watches the crowd flowing to the regatta. For him, all other people are simply tools to achieve his aims. However, there is one thing that he has not yet managed to obtain: Gioconda, with whom he is hopelessly in love. In his despair, he decides to use Gioconda’s blind mother, La Cieca, to bind the young woman to him.
    Shouting hurrahs, the crowd accompanies the winner of the regatta to the square. Barnaba convinces Zuàne, one of the competitors, that the reason he lost is because La Cieca is a witch and put a hex on his vessel. Barnaba succeeds in inciting the crowd against her, and the attempts of Gioconda and Enzo, the object of her affections, to save the sightless woman from being lynched are no use. However, now arriving are Alvise and his wife, Laura – though she is wearing a mask, she and Enzo recognised each other. The lady comes to La Cieca’s defence, and her husband grants her request: the “witch” is to receive clemency. The grateful woman presents Laura with the gift of her rosary.
    The square empties. Intrigued by Laura and Enzo’s behaviour, Barnaba discovers the identity of the brooding man: he is no Dalmatian sailor, but rather the prince of Genoa, who has been banned from Venice. Barnaba then reveals to Enzo that he works for the Council of Ten. Although repulsed by him, Enzo accepts his offer: that night, with Barnaba’s help, Enzo will run off with Laura.
    After Enzo departs, Barnaba dictates a letter to the scribe informing Alvise that his wife is planning to abscond with Enzo that night. Unseen to him, Gioconda hears it all.

    Act II – The Rosary
    On a ship in the lagoon, Enzo awaits Laura. The lovers happily embrace. Enzo departs to check that the preparations for their flight are all set. Left alone, Laura prays for the Virgin Mother to help her in this dangerous juncture in her life. Gioconda arrives on the vessel and is about to kill her rival when she sees Alvise’s boat approaching and decides to let her competitor suffer the vengeance of her deceived husband. When she notices that Laura is wearing her mother’s rosary, though, she recognises Laura as their rescuer and herself helps Laura escape.
    When Enzo returns, Gioconda lies to him that Laura’s love was not strong enough, so she left the ship. At the same time, she warns him that Alvise is approaching. Instead of fleeing, Enzo sets fire to his own ship.

    Act III – The Ca’ d’Oro palace
    Alvise is about to take vengeance on his wife, but when they face each other, he is not able to kill her. He nevertheless gives her poison and instructs her to end her own life. Gioconda listens in on them and, when Alvise leaves his wife to herself, takes the poison away from Laura and replaces it with a sedative that will make her appear dead.
    In the ballroom, dancers entertain the guests with an unusual allegorical dance alluding to the passage of time, the Dance of the Hours. The funeral bell tolls. After learning that they are tolling for Laura, Enzo reveals himself: he is the prince of Genoa, whom Alvise has robbed of his homeland and his love. Overcome with despair, Gioconda swears an oath to Barnaba: if he helps rescue Enzo, she will give herself to the spy.

    Act IV – The Orfano Canal
    Gioconda has had the still-drugged Laura taken to her home. The unhappy woman considers suicide: the man she loves is in love with someone else, and her mother has vanished without a trace. Enzo arrives, completely unaware that Laura is still alive. Deeply enraged after Gioconda informs him that she has robbed his beloved’s body from the grave, he is about to strike her down, but then a feeble voice is heard in the background: Laura has regained consciousness. She recognises Gioconda as her rescuer, who now urges the loving couple to flee.
    Left alone, Gioconda suddenly remembers her alliance with Barnaba. She prepares to flee, but it is too late: the spy has already arrived. The girl pretends to primp herself for the smitten Barnaba, and then suddenly shoots him. But the situation turns out to be a losing one for everyone, as the dying Barnaba cries out his final misdeed to Gioconda: he has strangled her mother. Gioconda is left alone with the vial of poison in her hand.

  • Credits

    General cast

    Conductor
    Gergely Kesselyák
    Gioconda
    Anikó Bakonyi / Eszter Sümegi
    La Cieca, Gioconda’s blind mother
    Kiss Judit Anna univ. stud. / Bernadett Wiedemann
    Barnaba
    Levente Molnár / Alexandru Agache
    Enzo Grimaldo
    Gergely Boncsér
    Laura Adonro
    Anna Fürjes univ. stud. / Erika Gál
    Alvise Badoero, chief of the State Inquisition, husband of Laura
    Krisztián Cser / Gábor Bretz
    Zuàne, a competitor in the regatta
    András Kőrösi
    Isèpo, a scribe
    Ferenc Kristofori
    A priest / A street singer / A voice from afar
    N.N.
    Another voice from afar
    N.N.
    Dancers
    N.N.
    Venetian spies
    N.N.

    Credits

    Librettist
    Arrigo Boito
    Director
    András Almási-Tóth
    Artistic consultant
    Éva Marton
    Set designer
    Éva Szendrényi
    Graphics used in set design created by
    Margit Balla
    Costume designer
    Bori Tóth
    Lighting designer
    Bányai Tamás
    Choreographer
    Dóra Barta
    Hungarian surtitles
    Judit Kenesey
    English surtitles
    Arthur Roger Crane
    Assistant set designer
    Fruzsina Augusztinyi
    Chorus director
    Gábor Csiki

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