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Nabucco

A production of the Bayerische Staatsoper

From: Bavarian State Opera

ABOVE: Paolo Gavanelli in the the title role of Nabucco. INSET BELOW: Daniela Sindram as Fenena.

photo Nabucco isn't Giuseppe Verdi's most famous opera, but it may have been the most important in his career:

After a less-than-stellar debut and the failure of his second work, Un Giorno di Regno, Verdi had decided to give up composing. Bartolemeo Merelli, impresario of Milan's La Scala opera house, handed him a libretto (which had already been turned down by another composer) and wouldn't take "No" for an answer.

Verdi wrote the music, Nabucco had its premiere under the name Nabucodonosar on March 9, 1842, and the opera was an immediate success. Verdi's future as an opera composer was assured, and the opera's "Va, pensiero" chorus has become one of the opera world's most beloved Golden Oldies. (See the Schiller Institute's lyrics and score of the chorus in Adobe PDF format.)

The first Munich performance of Nabucco took place on October 5, 1852, and the opera's most recent production had its debut on January 28, 2008, on the Bayerische Staatsoper's Nationaltheater stage.

I was lucky enough to attend Nabucco in February, 2008, and the performance (which played to a packed house) was a wonderful night of opera. In this article, I'll quickly describe Nabucco, comment on the Bayerische Staatsoper's production, and point you to related information on the Web.

Next page: The opera: a short summary


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Photos copyright © Wilfried Hösl.

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