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Work of the Week – Giuseppe Verdi: Nabucco

On 17 August, a new production of Verdi’s Nabucco will be staged at Burgplatz Open Air in Braunschweig. The production uses the revised edition published by Verlagsgruppe Hermann, available through Schott Music. The Hermann edition is an authoritative final edition of the opera that includes all the changes the composer made following the work’s initial publication.

Nabucco was composed during a difficult period for the young Verdi. He had recently lost his wife, and his latest opera Un giorno di regno had been a failure. The premiere performance of Nabucco in 1842, however, seemed to mark a change in the composer’s fortune. Following the world premiere, more than 50 performances of Nabucco were given at La Scala. The work’s success was immediately followed by new productions on international opera stages and activity in the following years marked Verdi as one of Europe’s foremost opera composers.

Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I shall deliver this city into the hand of the King of Babylon, and he will burn it with fire after Jeremiah 21:10, heading to the first part of Nabucco

Nabucco is the short form of the Italian name of the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. Under his reign, the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem and enslaved the Hebrews. The plot of Verdi’s Nabucco is set against this backdrop.

Giuseppe Verdi: Nabucco – Biblical opera with a timeless subject

Nabucco owes its success to both its mastery of dramatic tension and its thrilling music. With a fine sense for the effect of melody, rhythm and harmony, Verdi expresses the fears and hopes of the hostile people. His unique treatment of the orchestra supports the singer’s expression, for example when Hebrew priest Zaccaria in prayer is accompanied by a lone cello.

Nabucco runs at the Burgplatz in Braunschweig until the beginning of September with director Klaus Christian Schreiber and musical director Srba Dinić. On the first night, the cast will include Ivan Krutikov, Yulianna Bawarska, Kwonsoo Jeon, Dorothea Spilger and Jisang Ryu in the main roles. Another production of Nabucco opens at Semperoper Dresden in November this year.



Photo: © Semperoper Dresden/Ludwig Olah