Boccanegra, Simon

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(Verdi: Simon Boccanegra). Bar. A plebeian buccaneer, later doge, and father of Maria (known as Amelia Grimaldi). Amelia's mother was the daughter of the patrician Fiesco, who disapproved of her relationship with Boccanegra. She died and Fiesco blamed Boccanegra and would forgive him only if he handed over their child. However Boccanegra had left his little daughter in the care of an old lady. He returned from one of his trips to find the lady dead and the child gone. Meantime, Boccanegra has been elected doge, mainly due to the efforts of Paolo Albiani.

Twenty-five years on, Boccanegra visits the Grimaldi palace and sees the Count's daughter, Amelia. Through her mother's portrait, which she wears in her locket, Boccanegra recognizes Amelia as his long-lost daughter. She is being cared for by her guardian ‘Andrea’ (who is Fiesco living under another name) and she is betrothed to Gabriele Adorno (for whose father's death Boccanegra was held responsible). Paolo, who lusts after her, kidnaps her but she escapes. Boccanegra swears vengeance on the abductor and curses him (not knowing who it is). Boccanegra drinks water into which Paolo has put poison. Finding him drowsy and at his mercy, Gabriele is prevented from killing Boccanegra by Amelia, who then reveals that he is her father. As Boccanegra succumbs to the poison, he is reconciled with Fiesco, who now has his granddaughter back and the young couple are married. As he dies, Boccanegra names Gabriele as his successor, the new doge. Aria: Figlia! a tal nome io palpito (‘Daughter! … I tremble at that name’). Created (1857 vers.) by Leone Giraldoni (who two years later created Anckarstroem/Renato in Unballo in maschera; his son, Eugenio Giraldoni, in 1900 created Scarpia in Puccini's Tosca—notwithstanding their names, they were Fr., not It.); (1881 vers.) by Victor Maurel.

Subjects: Opera.

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