Un Giorno di Regno

Giuseppe Verdi, libretto by Felice Romani
Teatro Regio di Parma
Teatro Verdi di Parma, Italy
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Un Giorno di Regno

Giuseppe Verdi’s second opera was booed at its première at La Scala in 1840. Verdi said he would never compose again. He went on to write another 24 operas. But Un Giorno di Regno was never revived in his lifetime and he did not write another comic opera for 53 years. Falstaff premièred in 1893.

This producton, which has a pretty old-fashioned charm, dates from 2010 and was performed by Teatro Regio di Parma, Italy which has an annual Verdi festival and has staged and recorded all his works. Pier Luigi Pizzi is the director and the set and costume designer.

Un Giorno do Regno is in no way as bad as its reputation. It’s lightheated, trivial, silly, tuneful. There are moments when you feel you might be listening to Donizetti and Rossini.

The story is set in 1733. Belfiore, a cavalier, is in disguise, pretending to be King of Poland. Hence the opera’s title, King for a Day.

Two weddings are about to take place. Giulietta (Alessandra Marianelli) is having to marry old La Rocca (Paolo Bordogna) because her father (Andrea Porta) says she has to. She is in love with young Edorado (Ivan Magri).

La Marchesa del Poggio (Anna Caterina Antonacci) is marrying a man she doesn’t love but only to spite her lover, Belifiore (Guido Loconsolo), because she mistakenly thinks he no longer loves her.

Marinellli and Magni have a tender duet. Antonacci has some delightful arias and an unexpected striptease and bath on stage. Porta and Bordogna, two opera buffo basses, have a lot of fun with their duets and especially when they want to kill each other. There is a splendid quintet followed by a splendid sextet, a quarrel, which builds to a splendid finale for act 1.

Verdi’s Un Giorno di Regno is very enjoyable. It should be revived more often.

Reviewer: Robert Tanitch