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An Italian Romantic composer, mainly of opera, he was one of the most influential composers of the 19th century. Un ballo in maschera (A Masked Ball) is in three acts, and is loosely based on a play by French playwright Eugene Scribe. The play, written in 1833, is based on the historical assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden, who was shot while attending a masked ball (later dying from his wounds). This tenor aria appears in the second scene of Act 1, and is sung by Riccardo, the Earl of Warwick or King Gustav. Riccardo asks to have his fortune told by Ulrica, asking "Say whether the sea Awaits me Faithfully". Ulrica reveals that he will be killed by the next man who shakes his hand.