Giuseppe Verdi

Nabucco, opera (Nabucodonosor)

    Description by Anne Feeney

    Nabucco was Verdi's first great success. It is linked not only with the composer's history but also with the history of Italy. The "hit tune," the chorus "Va, pensiero," (Fly, my thoughts) became the unofficial hymn of Italian national liberation and reunification, and even today almost holds the status of national anthem. It was so strongly associated with Verdi that the crowds at his funeral procession spontaneously began to sing it as the cortege passed through the crowded streets of Rome.

    Verdi at this time in his life was deeply discouraged and unhappy, due both to personal tragedy and to a lack of musical success, and it was the impresario Merelli who forced the libretto upon him. When Verdi tossed the text on a table, intending to have nothing to do with it, it opened at the words "Va, pensiero," and he read it, and then read the rest; at their next meeting, Merelli was able to persuade Verdi to continue his musical career with a setting of this libretto. So it's not that surprising that this one section has somewhat overshadowed the rest of the work, but the whole has as much to offer as this one part.

    Abigaille is notorious as a killer role for the soprano daring enough to take it on -- the voices it is said to have ruined include that of Giuseppina Strepponi, Verdi's lover and later his wife -- but the rewards it offers are enough to tempt many a singer. The role has one of opera's most dramatic entrances, a beautiful aria and stunningly forceful cabaletta, a striking duet with Nabucco, and a death scene that can steal the show. Even Abigaille's recitatives are full of energy and virtuosic effect; one contains a two-octave leap to a high C. The role of Nabucco runs the gamut of emotions, from haughty belligerence to tender paternal love to insanity to humble faith in the God of the Hebrews, expressed in highly effective, if not yet completely individualized music. Zachary is the musical and dramatic predecessor to Procida in I Vespri Siciliani. Driven by patriotic fervor, he emerges in music that alternates between stirring exhortation, religious reflection, and hints of the single-minded ferocity that was to emerge again still later in Ernani and in the Inquisitor in Don Carlo.


    1. Overture
    2. No. 2, Gli arredi festivi
    3. No. 3a, Sperate, o figli!
    4. No. 3b, D'Egitto là sui lidi,
    5. No. 3c, Come notte al sol fulgente
    6. No. 4a, Fenena! O mia diletta!
    7. No. 4b, Io t'amava!
    8. No. 5, Prode guerrier!
    9. No. 6, Lo vedeste?
    10. No. 7a, Viva Nabucco!
    11. No. 7b, Che tenti? Oh trema insano
    12. No. 7c, Tremin gl'insani
    13. No. 8a, O vinti, il capo
    14. No. 8b, Mio furore
    15. No. 9a, Ben io t'ivenni o fatal scritto!
    16. No. 9b, Anch'io dischiuso un giorno
    17. No. 9c, Salgo già del trono
    18. No. 10a, Vieni, o Levita!
    19. No. 10b, Tu sul labbro de veggenti
    20. No. 11a, Che si vuol?, Chorus
    21. No. 11b, Il maledetto non ha fratelli, Chorus
    22. No. 12a, Deh, fratelli
    23. No. 12b, S'appressan gl'istanti
    24. No. 12c, S'oda or me!
    25. No. 13, E l'Assiria una regina
    26. No. 14, Eccelsa Donna
    27. No. 15, Donna, chi sei?
    28. No. 16, Oh, di qual'onta aggravisi
    29. No. 17, Deh, perdona
    30. No. 18, Va pensiero, sull'ali dorata [Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves]
    31. No. 19a, Oh, chi piange?
    32. No. 19b, Del futuro nel buio discerno
    33. No. 20, Son pur queste mie membral
    34. No. 21, Dio di Giuda! l'ara e il tempio
    35. No. 22, Cadran, cadranno I perfidi
    36. No. 23a, Marcia funebra
    37. No. 23b, Va! la palma del martirio
    38. No. 23c, Oh, dischiuso e il firmamento
    39. No. 24a, Viva Nabucco!
    40. No. 24b, Oh! chi vegg'io?
    41. No. 24c, Su me... morente

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2017 Warner Classics 9029584470
    2017 Warner Classics 563926
    2017 Warner Classics 0190295844462
    2016 Urania WS 121293
    2016 Warner Classics 555536 P
    2014 Bongiovanni HOC 07980
    2013 Sony Classical 88883721202
    2013 United Classics T 2CD2012126
    2013 Gala Records 7705977
    2013 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099941674
    2012 Cetra / Warner Classics 2564661558
    2012 IDIS IDIS 6630
    2011 Decca
    2011 Decca 001615302
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099945644
    2009 Myto Historical Line / Myto Records 00222
    2009 Ponto [Mitridate] 2001
    2009 Decca 4781717
    2008 CLA 10060
    2008 Naïve V 5158
    2008 Decca 4780984
    2008 Kultur 4348
    2007 EuroArts 2056228
    2007 Preiser Records 20049
    2007 Opera D'Oro 7031
    2005 Myto Records 51305
    2003 Aura Classics 1106
    2003 Hardy Classic 6009
    2002 Real Sound (RS) 25
    2002 Gala Records 589
    2002 Living Stage 35144
    2002 Warner Fonit 82646
    2001 Fono Enterprise 1033-34
    2000 Urania 100
    2000 Archipel 1
    1998 Delta Distribution 11540
    1998 Golden Melodram 20010
    1997 Opera D'Oro 1130
    1996 Koch Schwann 6427
    1995 Mercury 434345
    1995 Sony Music Distribution 68468
    1995 Sony Music Distribution 67180
    1995 Pantheon 6757
    1992 Deutsche Grammophon 435415
    1990 EMI Music Distribution 47488
    1986 Decca 417 407-2DH2
    1983 Deutsche Grammophon 410512
    Delphine 27084
    Enterprise 944
    Foyer Records 2095
    Golden Melodram 26029
    Chandos 3136
    Fonit-Cetra Italia 26
    Opera Italia 4
    Pantheon 6650.51
    Great Opera Performances 751
    Pantheon 6650
    Companions Classics 111
    Grammofono 2000 78962