© Julian Hargreaves


Amelia in Simon Boccanegra
1, 4, 11, 14, 17 February

Piango su voi,
Sul placido raggio del vostro clivo
Là dove invan germoglia il ramo dell'ulivo.
Piango sulla mendace festa dei vostri fior
E vo gridando: pace!
E vo gridando: amor!

These words sung by Simon Boccanegra are the quintessence of Verdi’s theatrical work, of this opera that bears the name of its protagonist, of the artistic and civil significance of music, and of Verdi’s own way of thinking. I always find them moving; I always find myself thinking about our role as Italians and heirs of Verdi, and about the depth of meaning in every word written by the genius from Busseto. My artistic journey with Amelia/Maria (who, with her beloved Gabriele, is the “light” in this very dark opera) began in Rome and Tokyo in 2012 under conductor Riccardo Muti, continued in Vienna with my Wiener Staatsoper debut in 2019, and has now brought me to Milan, as winter 2024 draws to an end. Naturally, we are at La Scala, where in the last century the opera became a legend in the history of the theatre, thanks to conductor Claudio Abbado, who chose it to inaugurate the 1971 season. The illustrious conductor loved Simon Boccanegra and that particular production (bearing the signatures of Strehler and Frigerio) so much that he revived it five times over the following ten years.

I think that it is still possible with contemporary sensitivity to see in Simon Boccanegra Verdi’s and Boito’s dream, the utopia of a governor who is enlightened and wise despite his terrible past and despite having been cruelly denied his dream of love and fatherhood. After gaining happiness, Simon dies, accompanied by Verdi’s ceaseless rhythm of the sea, which permeates and cradles the score throughout.

Verdi (and Simon) teach us that escape from darkness is achieved through peace, as in the words of the final ensemble in the first act, echoed by Amelia in the sweetest of melodies, in: “Pace! lo sdegno immenso | nascondi per pietà!”.

I’m singing in this Simon Boccanegra at La Scala with exceptional colleagues, in a new production by Daniele Abbado, with stage sets by the same director and by Angelo Linzalata, and costumes by Nanà Cecchi, conducted by Lorenzo Viotti. I’ll be on stage on 1, 4, 11, 14 and 17 February. The 14 February performance will be broadcast live on LaScalaTV at 7.45 p.m., after which the video will be available to view on demand until 21 February 2024.

In addition to this great honour, I am also privileged to be taking part in an event organised by the magazine "L'opera” in partnership with Teatro alla Scala: on Friday 16 February at 6 p.m., I’ll be the special guest in the series “Grandi Voci alla Scala”, which will take place in the Arturo Toscanini foyer. The series, which has already hosted eminent colleagues of today and recalled great voices of the past, is the brainchild of its presenters Sabino Lenoci and Giancarlo Landini.

I could ask for nothing better than this for my Verdi debut at La Scala.
signature Buratto

📷 Julian Hargreaves

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