Notes and Editorial Reviews
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Before starting to work at Nabucodonosor, which will later become his iconic Nabucco, Giuseppe Verdi was on the verge of abandoning music, discouraged as he was by the flop of his second opera. He then received a libretto by Temistocle Solera almost by chance, as it was destined to another composer. Verdi was very reluctant to put himself to work, but later he referred that one night he “threw the manuscript on the table […]. the booklet opened: unwillingly, my eyes were drawn to the page that was before them
and on these verses: ‘Va, pensiero, sull’ali dorate’”. So he started focusing on the task and “one day one verse, the next day another verse, a note and a phrase at a time, […] little by little the opera was composed”. The rest is history. Nabucodonosor was a triumph, the public of La Scala, on the night of 9th March 1842, repaid him with an unprecedented success hailing all the numbers of the opera with warm ovations and paying a special tribute to the chorus Va’, pensiero, sull’ali dorate, which in Italy has since become a sort of second national anthem. The reasons of such a success were that the opera possessed such force in itself, such simplicity and smoothness of style that made it the perfect example of tragic opera. This production has been filmed at the 2019 Festival Verdi in Parma. It’s a very powerful and engaging creative project by 2018 Abbiati prize winner duo Ricci/Forte. The most striking feature of this staging is that the action takes place in 2046 on a military ship, which reminds us of an Ark. This performance portrays a dystopic society where we can find many references to real contemporary events. Nabucco is turned into an oppressive dictator who is obsessed with his own image. The Hebrew slaves are portrayed as refugees wearing life vests, while on the ship deck various screens are used to display the regime’s propaganda.
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