- William Ashbrook
Tragedia in four acts by arrigo Boito to his own libretto; Milan, Teatro alla Scala, 1 May 1924.
Nerone occupied Boito for some 60 years and was originally conceived in five acts, ending with Nero playing the role of Orestes on stage as Rome burns around him. It was shortened at Giulio Ricordi’s suggestion. The music is rich but episodic, contrasting the diatonicism of the Christian episodes with the strange harmonies and orchestral colour associated with both Nero and Simon the Paraclete. Boito makes considerable use of recurring themes. The score was put in performing shape after Boito’s death by Vincenzo Tommasini and Antonio Smareglia, working under Toscanini’s direction....