Verdi: Simon Boccanegra
Simon Boccanegra is Verdi's second opera based on an historical drama by the Spanish author Garcia Gutierrez (the first was Il Trovatore). The political intrigue and individual tragedy that defined the life of the real Boccanegra fascinated Verdi to no end.
As the Doge of Genoa, Boccanegra had tried to reconcile the two rival parties of the plebeians and the patricians and was an advocate for peace with Venice and the unification of Italy. For this, he suffered many assassination attempts before finally being poisoned in 1363.