Simon Boccanegra is an opera with a prologue and three acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, based on the play Simón Bocanegra by Antonio García Gutiérrez. It was first performed at Teatro La Fenice, Venice in March 12, 1857. The revised version, with text changes by Arrigo Boito, was first performed at La Scala, Milan in March 24, 1881.
Simon Boccanegra is part of the standard operatic repertoire. There are several recordings of it, and it is occasionally performed.
Paolo persuades Pietro to support the nomination of Simon Boccanegra for doge of Genoa. Boccanegra arrives and agrees to stand, thinking that Fiesco would then allow him to wed his daughter, who is being held prisoner in her father's gloomy palace just to prevent such a union. Pietro rallies support for Boccanegra. Fiesco enters, stricken with grief over his daughter's death. He does not tell Boccanegra. Boccanegra accosts Fiesco and begs forgiveness. Fiesco promises clemency only if Boccanegra lets Fiesco have his granddaughter. Boccanegra explains he cannot for the child has vanished. Boccanegra finds his beloved's body as the people hail Boccanegra as the new doge.
Twenty-five years later. The doge has exiled many of his political opponents and confiscated their property. In the Grimaldi castle, Fiesco, to avoid discovery, is using the name Andrea Grimaldi, plotting with Boccanegra's enemies to overthrow him. Unknowingly, years earlier, the Grimaldis had adopted Boccanegra's child and Fiesco's granddaughter after discovering the orphan in a convent. They called her Amelia, hoping that she would be the heir to their family's fortune, their sons having been exiled. Amelia awaits her lover, Gabriele. He arrives, and she warns him of the dangers of political conspiracy. Word arrives that the doge is coming. Amelia, fearing that a forced marriage to Paolo is to be arranged, urges Adorno to ask her father for permission to marry. Fiesco agrees and reveals that Amelia is actually a penniless foundling. When Adorno says that he does not care, Fiesco blesses the marriage. Boccanegra enters. He pardons Amelia's exiled brothers, but she refuses to marry Paolo. When she tells Boccanegra that she was adopted, he realizes that she is his long-lost daughter. Finally reunited, they are overcome with joy. When Paolo enters, Boccanegra denies permission for the arranged marriage. Furious, Paolo decides to kidnap Amelia.
The senate is in session. The doge is interrupted by the sounds of a mob demanding Boccanegra's head. He orders the doors opened, and the crowd bursts in, chasing Adorno. Adorno confesses to killing Lorenzio for the attempted kidnapping of Amelia, ordered by an unknown high ranking official. Adorno guesses it is must be Boccanegra and is about to attack him when Amelia rushes in and stops the fight. Boccanegra has Adorno arrested for the night. Discerning that Paolo is the actual man responsible, he makes everyone, including Paolo, utter a curse on the real kidnapper.
Paolo and Fiesco discuss plans to murder Boccanegra, but Fiesco refuses. Paolo next tells Adorno that Amelia is the doge's mistress, hoping Adorno will murder Boccanegra. Amelia enters, and Adorno accuses her of infidelity. She claims only to love Adorno, but does not explain that Boccanegra is her father for Adorno's family was killed by the doge. Adorno hides as Boccanegra enters. Amelia vows to Boccanegra that she would die for Adorno. Boccanegra agrees to pardon him. He drinks from a poisoned glass of wine and falls asleep. Adorno tries to kill him, but Amelia stops him. Boccanegra wakes and reveals that Amelia is his daughter. Adorno begs for forgiveness and promises to fight for the doge.
Paolo is condemned to death for leading the uprising against the doge. Fiesco is released from prison. Paolo tells Fiesco that he has poisoned Boccanegra. Fiesco confronts Boccanegra, who is now dying. Boccanegra recognizes his old enemy, but is happy to tell him that Amelia is his granddaughter. Fiesco feels great remorse and tells Boccanegra about the poison. Adorno and Amelia, newly married, find her father and grandfather have reconciled. Boccanegra asks that Adorno be named his successor, and after the doge dies, Fiesco proclaims it so.