Overture to La forza del destino
b. Le Roncole, Italy / October 9, 1813; d. Milan, Italy / January 27, 1901
In December 1860, a commission from the directors of the Imperial Russian Theatre in St. Petersburg reawakened Verdi’s dormant interest in composing. He chose as the subject Don Elvaro o la fuerza del sino (Don Elvaro, or the Force of Destiny), a dramatic and romantic play by Spanish author Angel Saavedra, Duke of Rivas. He engaged one of his frequent collaborators, author Francesco Maria Piave, to prepare the libretto.
In November 1861, he traveled to St. Petersburg for the rehearsals, but due to the sudden illness of the lead soprano and the lack of a suitable alternative, the première was postponed for a year. The debut went smoothly the second time around, but Verdi was far from pleased with his newest creation. The opera as it is now known dates from a production at La Scala, Milan in 1869. Among numerous changes, Verdi discarded the brief, original orchestral introduction and replaced it with the sort of full-blown, plot-encapsulating overture he had regularly produced in earlier times. It blends dramatic and lyrical themes in perfect equilibrium.
Program Notes by Don Anderson © 2018