GIUSEPPE VERDI: UN BALLO IN MASCHERA

MS 5408
MS Short Title GIUSEPPE VERDI: UN BALLO IN MASCHERA
Text GIUSEPPE VERDI: UN BALLO IN MASCHERA, ORIGINAL END OF 2ND ACT
Description MS in Italian on paper, Busseto, Italy, 1859, 2 pp., 34x15 cm (originally 34x20 cm), ruled with 24 staves, (30x15 cm), in cursive script, music notation in full score, autograph.
Provenance 1. Giuseppe Verdi, Busseto, Italy (1859-1901) and heirs; 2. Private collection, U.S.A. (-1970'ies); 3. Otto Haas, London (1970'ies-2008), acquired April 2008.
Commentary The Masked Ball is based on a historical event, the assassination of King Gustav III at the masked ball at the Royal Palace in Stockholm 1792. But to avoid conflict with Europe's touchy royal houses, the venue was changed to Count Warwick, Governor of Boston. The present MS documents that Verdi first had a quite different concept of the final dramatic section of Act 2. After the last duet, Verdi planned a 5-bar outburst of the full orchestra just before the curtain falls and the duet and "Laughter chorus" came separately. The 5-bar orchestral postlude was replaced by one solitary fortissimo chord and Amelia's last words are accelerated to virtually double tempo, now played together with, and counterbalanced by the courtiers' fading "Laughter chorus". This is a rare insight into Verdi's creative process, as Verdi tried to leave to posterity the idea that he had created immediate perfection, and he therefore destroyed all non-definitive manuscripts during the last months of his life. Verdi scholars know only half a dozen sketches (cf. W. Weaver: Verdi. A documentary study, London 1977), and only two of these are for major works (Othello and Un Ballo in Maschera) and only the latter notated in full score.
Place of origin Italy
Dates 1859

Location