Opera Nabucco is well-known and quite popular among our audiences, especially because of the famous chorus of the Hebrew Slaves Va pensiero sul’ali dorate (Fly, thought, on golden wings). The opera was first performed in Slovenia in 1959 and then again in 2000, to mark the 100th anniversary of the composer’s death.
Verdi’s legendary early work began its triumphant march around the globe soon after its first staging in Milan, in 1842. The success of this opera rests on the expressive recitatives, elapsing into the melodious arias, ensembles and solemn choruses. The librettist Solero was inspired by the Old Testament Bible story after the Book of Daniel, relating to the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar and his fight against the Jews. The rivalry between Nabucco’s daughters Fenena and the intriguing Abigaille, fighting for the love of Ismaele – the nephew of the King of Israel – thickens the plot additionally.
Giuseppe Verdi (Roncole, 1813 – Milan, 1901) was not only a great artist and a musical genius, but also a symbol of the uniting nation. However the artist had lived through long years of hard work, during which he gradually developed his own style and not all of his new operas were necessarily immediate successes.
The triumphant premiere of the opera Nabucco was performed at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan on 9th March 1842. Then followed his “galley years”, as he later called them, i.e. the fruitful and successful period between 1842 and 1851, when he composed an impressive number of 14 operas. After the opera Ernani, which was premiered at the Teatro la Fenice in Venice (1844), he was hailed as a national hero.