The story behind the creation of Verdi's opera "A Masked Ball" is just about as interesting as the drama on stage.
Verdi based "A Masked Ball" on the assassination of a Swedish king. But given the the political climate of 19th century Europe, authorities were nervous about the opera's subject matter. So censors forced him to change the setting to colonial Boston and reduce the rank of the leading character from king to governor.
The Minnesota Opera opens its season with a production of "The Masked Ball," restoring the original Swedish setting and characters.
In a conversation with Minnesota Public Radio's John Birge, Verdi expert and scholar Philip Gossett says that "A Masked Ball" is a remarkable combination of comedy and tragedy.