La Gioconda is an opera in four acts by Amilcare Ponchielli set to an Italian libretto by Arrigo Boito (as Tobia Gorrio), based on Angelo, Tyrant of Padua, a play in prose by Victor Hugo, dating from 1835.
First performed in 1876, La Gioconda was a major success for Ponchielli, as well as the most successful new Italian opera between Verdi's Aida (1871) and Otello (1887). It is also a famous example of the Italian genre of Grande opera, the equivalent of French Grand-Opéra.
Ponchielli revised the work several times; the version that is played today was first given in 1880. There are several complete recordings of the opera, and it is regularly performed, especially in Italy. It is one of only a few operas that features a principal role for each of the six major voice types.
La Gioconda was first performed at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan, on April 8, 1876. It was especially successful in its third and final version first seen at the same theatre on 28 March 28, 1880. The opera had its American premiere at the Metropolitan Opera on December 20, 1883.
Gioconda – Renata Tebaldi
Enzo – Carlo Bergonzi
Barnaba – Robert Merrill
Laura – Marilyn Horne
Alvise – Nicolai Ghiuselev
Orchestra of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia of Rome
Lamberto Gardelli – conductor
London Records - 1967