Even Verdi got embroiled in a lawsuit

Last night, I heard Un Ballo in Maschera, one of my favorite Verdi operas, at the Met.

It’s my habit to read the program on the subway ride home. In the section relating the history of the opera — anyone who loves opera knows the odd history of Ballo and its censorship problems which led to a, um, spotty, occasionally absurd libretto — I read this:

The Setting

This opera suffered from the interference of censors of the Kingdom of Naples, who objected to the depiction of a royal assassination on the stage. Somma [the librettist] offered a revised libretto, moving the action to colonial Boston [!!!!]. When the censors demanded still more changes, Verdi abandoned his contract with the theater and took the piece to Rome (just ahead of the police and a lawsuit) …

Another reason to feel good about being the plaintiff in a lawsuit. Unlike Verdi, you won’t have to skip town.

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