Amilcare Ponchielli, La Gioconda
Modena, Teatro Comunale Luciano Pavarotti, 25 March 2018
La Gioconda in Modena: a popularly acclaimed, small-town grand opera
For no other opera is the gap between scholars and public opinion so wide. Since 1876, when Amilcare Ponchielli’s La Gioconda debuted at La Scala in Milan with a success of unheard-of proportions, every time this drama is set up in some Italian theatre, its popular fortune is renewed.
Yet also the diffidence of the musicography in this colourful work, taken from Angelo, tyran de Padoue that Victor Hugo had written forty years before, remains unchanged. Nevertheless, audiences are subjugated by the opulence of the music of this small-town grand opera, which is not devoid of sections of undoubted effect and a wise musical construction. The problem is that in La Gioconda the characters have minimal psychological depth, being more like the representation of extreme feelings rather than credible dramatic characters…