Barnaba: Lino Puglisi
La Gioconda: Enriqueta Tarres
La Cieca: Anna Reynolds
Zuane: Derick Davies
Isepo: Adrian de Peyer
Enzo Grimaldo: Giuseppe Gismondo
Alvise Badoero: Franco Ventriglia
Laura: Gloria Lane
|Set Design||Reginald Woolley
|Costume Design||Reginald Woolley
|Wexford Chorus Coach||Mrs C Hore
|Visiting Chorus Coach||Myer Fredman
|Assistant Chorus Coach||Nora O'Leary
The story takes place in Venice during the 17th century and revolves around the character of Gioconda, a street singer who is in love with Enzo, a nobleman who is also the enemy of her family.
The opera begins with a prologue in which we see the Doge of Venice giving a speech to the people. He announces that a contest will be held to determine the best painting of the city's most famous courtesan, La Gioconda. The winner will receive a prize and the painting will be displayed in public. This sets the stage for the main plot of the opera.
In Act One, we are introduced to Gioconda, who is singing on the streets of Venice. She is in love with Enzo, but their love is forbidden because Enzo is engaged to Laura, the daughter of Alvise, a member of the Inquisition. Gioconda's mother, La Cieca, is blind and is also being persecuted by Alvise. Barnaba, a spy for the Inquisition who is in love with Gioconda, discovers her secret and tries to blackmail her into helping him win Laura's affection.
In Act Two, Enzo and Laura meet secretly at night and declare their love for each other. Barnaba discovers their meeting and tells Alvise, who vows to take revenge on his daughter's lover. He decides to hold a ball in honor of La Gioconda and invites Enzo as well. At the ball, Gioconda saves Enzo from being recognized by Alvise by distracting him with a song.
Act Three takes place in Alvise's palace, where he has imprisoned Enzo and Laura. He offers to spare their lives if Laura agrees to marry him, but she refuses. Gioconda arrives and offers to exchange her own life for theirs. She tricks Barnaba into revealing that he had poisoned Laura's drink, and then stabs herself with a knife to prevent Barnaba from carrying out his plan.
In Act Four, Alvise discovers Gioconda's body and realizes that she has saved his daughter and her lover. He orders Barnaba to be arrested for his crimes, and the opera ends with a tragic finale as Enzo and Laura mourn Gioconda's sacrifice.
"La Gioconda" is known for its dramatic intensity and includes several famous arias, such as "Cielo e mar" and "Suicidio!" The music is rich and evocative, capturing the passion and tragedy of the story. The opera is a masterpiece of Italian opera and continues to be performed around the world to this day.