Between 1850-53 the Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi produced his greatest masterpieces: Rigoletto, Il Trovatore and La traviata. He followed those works up with Les Vepres Siciliennes in 1855. It’s based on an historical event known as the “Sicilian Vespers” in which a group rebels took up arms in 1282 in a bid to overthrow Charles I of France who had ruled the Kingdom of Sicily since 1266.
The history of the uprising is too complicated to get into here, although there were apparently competing claims to the throne tied to Germany and France and pope Urban IV backed Charles I who eventually seized control. Charles I had designs on expanding his empire into the Mediterranean, and while his reign in Sicily apparently wasn’t oppressive in any way, locals still rebelled.
This afternoon at 2 p.m. at the RPL Theatre there’s a broadcast of a performance by London’s Royal Opera of Verdi’s Les Vepres Siciliennes. Tickets are $15 Adults and $12 for Seniors & Students. To give you sense of what to expect here’s a nine-minute excerpt from a 2013 production at the Royal Opera House: