La Gioconda


11 JUNE - 13 JULY

Starring Joseph Calleja

For one of the grandest of Italian grand operas, GPO welcomes back the clarion tones of Joseph Calleja, as the treacherous lover.

With South African soprano Amanda Echalaz, already acclaimed at ROH and the Met, Ruxandra Donose and Elisabetta Fiorillo there will be a huge amount of vocal firepower on stage for this first UK production since 2008.

Luscious tunes portray most serene Venice – La Serenissima – a place preferring peace to conflict, a place of diplomacy, wealth, justice and prosperity.

But under the cruel eye of the Inquisition lives a simple singer: a dutiful daughter to her blind mother.  Bursting with love for her mother, her lover Enzo, and fury at his treachery, she tumbles into Venice’s bloody underworld.

Verdi was king of the opera scene, and, briefly, Ponchielli’s Gioconda, toppled him. There was not a dry eye in La Scala as everyone mourned the noble tragedy of the simple singer, La Gioconda. It ran and ran.

An opera in four acts

Sung in Italian with English surtitles

Music: Amilcare Ponchielli

Libretto: Arrigo Boito

First performance: 8 April 1876, La Scala

UK première: 31 May 1883, Covent Garden

Supported by Hamish & Sophie Forsyth with Ken & Fiona Costa, David & Elizabeth Challen, The de Laszlo Foundation

Back to What’s On

Cast & Creatives

ENZO GRIMALDI, Genoese prince JOSEPH CALLEJA     Sponsor François Freyeisen & Shunichi Kubo
LA GIOCONDA, a singerAMANDA ECHALAZ     Sponsor Harry Hyman
ALVISE BADOERO, leader of the Inquisition ∙ MARCO SPOTTI
LAURA, Alvise’s wife, once betrothed Enzo ∙ RUXANDRA DONOSE
BARNABA, spy of the InquisitionDAVID STOUT     Sponsor Noreen Doyle
ZUANETOKI HAMANO  Sponsor Raymonde Jay



Long icons_2

Performance dates

Saturday 11 June 5:45pm
Thursday 16 June 5:45pm
Monday 20 June 5:45pm
Thursday 23 June 5:45pm
Saturday 2 July 5:45pm
Sunday 10 July 5:45pm
Wednesday 13 July 5:45pm

Provisional running times

First Half: 5:45 – 7:35
Interval: 7:35 – 9:05
Second Half: 9:05 – 10:35

Booking dates

Pioneers & Singer Sponsors: Wednesday 6 Oct
Revels: Wednesday 20 Oct
Hippocrates: Wednesday 24 Nov
Archimedes: Wednesday 15 Dec
Plato: Wednesday 9 Feb
Public: Wednesday 9 Mar

Join for priority booking

Act 1 The Lion’s mouth

The people of Venice are celebrating Carnival. Barnaba, a state spy, lusts for the beautiful street singer La Gioconda as she leads her blind mother, La Cieca, through the square. She rejects Barnaba’s advances and, in revenge, he denounces the old lady as a witch. The angry mob rises up against her.

It is Laura, wife of Inquisitor Alvise Badoero, who brings calm and places La Cieca under her personal protection. In gratitude the old woman presents her with her beloved rosary.

Sharp-eyed Barnaba has noticed furtive glances between Laura and the mysterious sea captain and realises that the sea captain is banished nobleman Enzo Grimaldo, who was engaged to Laura before her marriage but is now in a relationship with La Gioconda.

Barnaba confronts Enzo and reveals himself as an agent of the feared Council of Ten.   He knows all about Enzo’s secret passion for Laura and offers to help them elope together.  That evening he will bring Laura to Enzo’s ship.

With Enzo gone, Barnaba dictates to the public scribe an anonymous letter to Alvise revealing his wife’s infidelity and the plan of escape. He posts the letter into the Lion’s mouth, repository of secret information passed to the Inquisition.

La Gioconda has overheard everything and is tormented by her lover’s faithlessness.

Act 2 The Rosary

Enzo waits aboard his ship for Barnaba to arrive with Laura. Their reunion is joyful and Enzo reassures her that Barnaba can be trusted.

Everyone is after Laura: La Gioconda has been following her, intent on revenge; Alvise and his men are also in pursuit. Gioconda is about to stab Laura when she sees her mother’s rosary hanging round her neck. She decides to save Laura.

Enzo returns to find Laura vanished and Gioconda triumphant. Alvise’s men are approaching. Enzo sets fire to the ship rather than let it fall into the hands of his enemies. He escapes.

Act 3 The House of Gold

Laura has been caught and returned under guard to Alvise’s palace. Her husband insists she must die by drinking poison. Gioconda has managed to get into the palace with the selfless intention of saving her rival for the sake of Enzo. She finds Laura alone and swaps the poison with a drug that creates the appearance of death and persuades her to drink it.

Alvise welcomes the nobility to the palace; Enzo is disguised among the guests. The entertainment ends with a ballet, the Dance of the Hours. A funeral bell is heard: Laura’s body is ready for burial. A despairing Enzo flings off his disguise and denounces Alvise as a murderer. He is arrested.

Act 3 The Orfana Canal

La Gioconda has agreed to give herself to Barnaba in exchange for Enzo’s release.

Enzo appears, demanding to know what La Gioconda expects from him in return. She tells Enzo that she has robbed the tomb of Laura’s body. He threatens to kill her if she doesn’t reveal where she has hidden it.

Laura awakes from her death like sleep and the lovers are reunited.  Promising that they will never forget La Gioconda’s great sacrifice they make their escape via the canal.  Alone, Gioconda prays to the Holy Virgin to drive away the demon.

Barnaba arrives to claim his reward and La Gioconda agrees to honour their pact.


This event has passed.