Giuseppe Verdi's Un ballo in maschera has been controversial since its inception. Loosely based on the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden, who was killed at a ball in the late 1700s, the opera made European royalty pretty nervous. Verdi had to rewrite the tale several times before he could get anyone to agree to stage it. When Antonio Somma, who wrote the libretto, set the whole thing in America and changed the central character from a European king to a Boston governor, the show finally went on. It seems Europe's censors were okay with American assassinations. Opera in the Heights, which is staging Verdi's tale today, will use the original Swedish names in its production as a nod to the opera's beginnings. See Verdi's much-loved Un ballo in mascheraat 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Through February 6. Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights. For information, call 713-861-5303 or visit www.operaintheheights.org. $10 to $45.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. Starts: Jan. 28. Continues through Feb. 6, 2010