Antonio Somma based the libretto for Un Ballo in Maschera off of a five act libretto previously writing by Eugène Scribe for Daniel Auber’s 1833 opera Gustave III, ou Le bal masqué. Due to censorship regulations in Naples and Rome, where the opera was performed early on in its life, concerning the political situations in France, especially since the story revolves around the assassination of the king of Sweden. The libretto, therefore, went through a number of changes in setting, and changing the names of some of the characters. There are two most known versions of the piece; one set in Sweden, and one set in Boston. During the 20th century, the version set in 18th century Stockholm, Sweden has become the common setting, especially after a production in 1935 in Copenhagen in which the modern production restored the Swedish setting. Immediately successful after the premiere, Un Ballo in Maschera has been performed all over the world, and performed frequently to this day.

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