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Om Verdi's Simon Boccanegra
Verdi based his opera Simon Boccanegra on Antonio Garcia Gutierrez's historical drama about a fourteenth century Doge of Genoa. The premiere in 1857 was a fiasco. Twenty-four years later, he involved Boito, who would subsequently provide him with libretti for Otello and Falstaff, in a drastic revision. Boito's more radical changes were rejected, but although the revised version was a success, the plot remains confusing largely because of the mistaken identities involved.Doge Simon Boccanegra discovers his long- lost illegitimate daughter Maria, whose mother died twenty-five years ago. Now called Amelia, she turns up when his right-hand man Paolo wants to marry her but she wants to marry Gabriele, a patrician. Nobody seems to know her identity, but she and her father are reunited when they compare their matching miniature portraits of her mother. Gabriele thinks that the Doge wants to marry her. After she is abducted, he tries to kill him. Paolo is furious at his rejection and poisons the Doge.Against the medieval splendour of the era of the poet Petrarch, and against the backdrop of murderous civil strife between the 'Guelf' and 'Ghibellines', Verdi conveys his political message about the need for reconciliation in the context of Italian unification.