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.
This opera was the first opera host Sean Bianco ever heard and has remained his favorite opera to this day.
La gioconda - Zinka Milanov
Laura Adorno - Rosalind Elias
Alvise Badoero - Plinio Clabassi
La cieca - Belén Amparán
Enzo Grimaldo - Giuseppe di Stefano
Barnaba - Leonard Warren
Zuàne - Fernando Valentini
Un cantore - Virgilio Carbonari
Isèpo - Giacomo Cottino
Un pilota - Fernando Valentini
Un barnabotto - Virgilio Carbonari
Coro e Orchestra de l'Accademia di Santa Cecilia,
Fernando Previtali – condcutor
Recorded by DECCA for RCA in Italy
Recorded in 1957