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"Un Ballo in Maschera" (or "The Masked Ball") is a typical mid-19th-century Italian grand opera: it has intrigue, romance, murderous conspiracies, and - best of all - the glorious music of Giuseppe Verdi ("La Traviata," "Aida").

To end its current season on a high note, Regina Opera is staging "Un Ballo en Maschera" this weekend and next. Verdi composed the opera (which premiered in Rome in 1859) to a libretto by Antonio Somma that’s actually set in the British colony of Boston, Mass. and centers around the Royal Governor Riccardo (!), his lust for his best friend Renato’s wife Amelia, and his tragic refusal to take Renato’s admonitions about a conspiracy against his life seriously.

That’s when they all attend the masked ball...

In opera, it’s almost as customary now to change the setting as to adhere to the libretto: but in this case, Regina Opera is sticking with the original stage directions, so colonial Boston it is!

"Un Ballo" is being staged by Linda Lehr, and conductor Jose Alejandro Guzman will lead a full orchestra.

Regina Opera performs "Un Ballo in Maschera" June 3 and 10 at 7 pm and June 4 and 11 at 4 pm at Regina Hall (12th Avenue and 65th Street in Dyker Heights). For more information, including ticket prices, call (718) 232-3555 or visit

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