A Diamond from Rough Times: Verdi's I Masnadieri

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<em>L'Masnadieri</em> full cast onstage at La Fenice

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Giuseppe Verdi’s tragic drama follows a wealthy and murderous crook as he engages in a doomed romance with his cousin. It's a hot-blooded, messy affair with an array of brilliant musical numbers and arias tailored for the opera's first leading lady, legendary soprano Jenny Lind.

I Masnadieri premiered in London at Her Majesty's Theatre in 1847. When Verdi received the commission for the new work, he thought it might lead to a box office hit and a healthy paycheck. Only part of that came true.  Audiences found the opera excessively violent. Despite the appearance of Lind as the female lead, the opera had a short run.  Still, it did earn Verdi more money than any of his previous works.

On World of Opera, host Lisa Simeone presents I Masnadieri from historic La Fenice, in Venice, Italy. Soprano Maria Agresta and tenor Andeka Gorrotxategui star as a pair of lovers whose severely dysfunctional family life makes their romance more than a little bit hazardous. The production is led by conductor Daniele Rustioni.


Daniele Rustioni: conductor

Amalia: Maria Agresta (soprano) 

Carlo: Andeka Gorrotxategui (tenor)

Francesco: Artur Rucinski (baritone) 

Count Moor: Giacomo Prestia (bass) 

Arminio: Cristiano Olivieri (tenor) 

Rolla: Antonio Feltracco (tenor) 

La Fenice Orchestra and Chorus