Verdi's "A King for a Day" Makes News

The Sarasota Opera this year produced a Verdi opera that is seldom performed called "Un Giorno di Regno" that is translated into English as "King for a Day". Dr. Francesco Izzo researched this work and developed the definitive rendition of the opera. This is what the Sarasota Opera produced. In addition Dr. Izzo also discovered two additional pieces that Verdi wrote for the opera that were never inserted in the score. These two pieces were performed for the first time during a special concert on March 24 to celebrate the bicentennial anniversary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi. Both the opera and the concert received enthusiastic critical reviews and attendance. The event was notable enough to raise interest world-wide. Four distinguished members of the Club dei 27 from Parma visited Sarasota and attended both the Opera and the concert.

The "Club dei 27"

The town of Parma, Italy, is famous for a number of things. Most people will recognize the name from the Parmigiano cheese, or from the prosciutto meat. But the area around Parma is also famous for Giuseppe Verdi. He was born in a little village near Parma, and lived just outside Parma on his farm. The Teatro Regio in Parma considers itself as Verdi's "home theater". A group of Verdi enthusiasts started a club in 1958 dedicated to opera and in particular the works of Verdi. The group originally called "Grotta Mafalda" changed its name to "Club dei 27" in 1974. The number "27" stands for the twenty six operas written by Giuseppe Verdi plus is famous Requiem. In actuality the maestro wrote 33 operas, but seven of them can be considered derivatives, because they were developed as variations of a previous opera. So while in Sarasota we have the Verdi 33 association, in Parma they keep to the "original" 26 operas.

For those that would like more details the seven "derivatives" are: Jerusalem, Aroldo, Le Trouve`re, Don Carlos in four acts, plus the revised versions of La Forza del Destino, Macbeth, and Simon Boccanegra. Jerusalem is a derivative of I Lombardi while Aroldo is a derivative of Stiffelio. Le Trouve`re is the French version of Il Trovatore. Finally the original version of Don Carlos is in five acts.

What is specific to the Parma group is that only men can be members, there are only twenty seven members, and each member represents one of the operas or the Requiem. The members take the name of the work they represent and they introduce themselves by it. During their visit I met Alzira, Un Ballo in Maschera, La Forza del Destino, and of course Un Giorno di Regno, who happens to be the President of the Club.

The Sarasota Opera exceeded all expectations according to our guests. I was told privately that they did not know what to expect, but they envisioned a provincial company full of good intention but short of talent. What they saw, instead, was a professional organization whose talents are significantly above average and in certain instances, like the quality of our chorus, better than the one they have in Parma.

By the way in case you are curious, Linda and I are members of the Verdi 33 and represent the original Macbeth. To the members of the Club dei 27 we therefore are simply known as Macbeth.