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Play Un Ballo


By the time Verdi wrote Un ballo in maschera, he was already enjoying considerable success due to the popularity of the numerous works he had written, including: Nabucco (1842) Macbeth (1847), Rigoletto (1851), Il trovatore (1853) and La traviata (1853). In this position he only aspired to find new and daring musical themes based on a powerful story, in this case the assassination of the King of Sweden, Gustav III, in 1792, during a masked ball.  

Envy and conspiracies, mixed with amorous passions, politics, jealousy, revenge and final forgiveness come together in Verdi’s masterpiece. In Naples, the opera aroused the wrath and prohibitions of censors: a king could not be murdered on stage, and there were difficulties in showing scenes of witchcraft, infidelity had to be met with remorse and the conspirators had to hate the duke for hereditary reasons... so the composer was forced to make major adaptations and to transfer the plot from Sweden to late 17th century Boston. 

Graham Vick’s elegant production is well suited to Verdi’s thrilling drama. Recovering the version of the premiere in Rome itself, with the plot set in Sweden and without censorship, this Ballo breaks with traditional codes. A set design built from a semicircular screen that surrounds the background, with a premonitory tomb that presides over the stage are the basis to explain the tragic destiny in which the sufferings of the main characters are shown. A suggestive space and impeccable acting work that captures the power of desire and underlines with expressive strength and coherence this postmortem production by Vick for the Teatro Regio in Parma; a universe of chiaroscuro in which monumental ensembles are combined with shots of enormous intimacy.  

Freddie De Tommaso is Riccardo / Gustav III, a Swedish king in love with Amelia (Anna Pirozzi), wife of Renato, his best friend and advisor (Artur Ruciński). When the latter discovers the illicit love, he joins a conspiracy to murder the king and tragedy ensues. Daniella Barcellona (Ulrica/Arvidson) is the medium who prophesies the betrayal and tragic end. 

With Un ballo in maschera, Verdi achieves unprecedented emotional and sensual heights in a staging that strengthens the mysterious atmosphere of this love for the same woman in which jealousy turns into such madness that Renato, with insurmountable wounds, ends up stabbing his friend. 

Imatge Ballo In Maschera Under 35 (© Judit Canela)  ​
© Judit Canela


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  • Approximate running time 2h 55min
    • First act (scene 1) 21min
    • Quick change 3min
    • First act (scene 2) 30min
    • Quick change 5min
    • Second act 32min
    • Interval 30min
    • Third act 50min

Artistic profile

Stage director
Jacopo Spirei (after Graham Vick's project)
Virginia Spallarossa
Set and costume design
Richard Hudson
Giuseppe di Iorio
Teatro Regio di Parma
Stage director assistant
Luis Tausía
Musical director assistant
Daniel Perpiñán
Musical assistants
Véronique Werklé, Amandine Duchênes, David-Huy Nguyen-Phong i Jaume Tribó


Chorus of the Gran Teatre del Liceu (Pablo Assante, conductor)
Symphony Orchestra of the Gran Teatre del Liceu
Riccardo Frizza

Cast change

  • In the LiceUnder35 performance on February 7, the role of Oscar is played by soprano Sara Blanch, replacing Jodie Devos.

February 2024

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Liceu chronology

Consult the history of this title through the Annals of the Foundation of the Gran Teatre del Liceu: list of performances, casts, photographs, program booklets, curiosities...
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