La Gioconda is an opera in four acts by Amilcare Ponchielli set to an Italian libretto by Arrigo Boito, based on Angelo, tyran de Padoue, a play in prose by Victor Hugo, dating from 1835.
La Gioconda was first performed at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan, on 8 April 1876. The opera was a major success for Ponchielli, as well as the most successful new Italian opera between Verdi's Aida (1871) and Otello (1887).
The opera's title translates as "The Happy Woman", but is usually given in English as "The Ballad Singer". However, as this fails to convey the irony inherent in the original, the Italian is usually used. Each act of La Gioconda has a title.
The story revolves around a woman, Gioconda, who so loves her mother that when Laura, her rival in love for the heart of Enzo, saves her mother's life, Gioconda puts aside her own romantic love to repay her. The villain Barnaba, tries to seduce Gioconda , but she prefers death.
Conductor: Gianandrea Gavazzeni
Orchestra: Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
Choir: Coro del Maggio Musicale Fiorengino
Barnaba: Ettore Bastianini
Gioconda: Anita Cerquetti
Renzo: Mario Del Monaco
La Cieca: Franca Sacchi
Alvise Badoero: Cesare Siepi
Laura: Giulietta Simionato