Giuseppe Verdi

Oberto, conte di San Bonifacio, opera

    Description by Robert Cummings

    Oberto, Verdi's first opera, had a long and frustrating gestation, but the events in the composer's personal life just prior to its staging were more than trying: both of Verdi's infant children died, the first in August 1838, the second just a month before the November 17, 1839, premiere. The generally positive response to the opera by both critics and public, however, offered at least some consolation to the bereft Verdi. Indeed, the composer was given a contract for three more operas.

    While Oberto is not one of Verdi's stronger operatic efforts, it nevertheless offers much good music to accompany a libretto that contains romance, infidelity, and violent revenge, all attractive ingredients in the world of opera. Set in Italy in 1228, the story concerns the deceitful womanizer, Count Riccardo, who seduces the daughter (Leonora) of his friend (Oberto). When Leonora reveals his deeds to Cuniza, Riccardo's betrothed, a series of events are set off that lead to Oberto killing the Count.

    Stylistically, Oberto betrays the influence of Rossini and Bellini, though in places it looks ahead to the more mature Verdi, such as in the Act II quartet "La vergogna," thought by many to be the high point of the opera. Leonora (soprano) has a lovely, if dark aria in the opening Act, "Sotto il paterno tetto," in which she sings about "the angel of beauty." There are several other attractive arias, as well, including a lovely Act I cavatina by Riccardo (tenor), "Son fra voi!," wherein he, returning victorious from battle, acknowledges that he is undeserving of the praise heaped on him from the enthusiastic chorus of knights and courtiers. There is also a quite atmospheric number by Oberto (bass), the Act II "L'orror del tradimento," wherein he awaits his duel with Riccardo, pondering whether his opponent is a coward. The orchestral writing is solid if not quite as imaginative as that in the middle-and late-Verdi operas, and the choruses are colorful and well-crafted.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Overture
    2. No. 2a, Di vermiglia, amabil luce
    3. No. 2b, Son fra voi! Gia parmi udire il fremito
    4. No. 3a, Ah, sgombro è il loco alfin
    5. No. 3b, Sotto il paterno tetto
    6. No. 3c, Oh, potesi nel mio core
    7. No. 4, Oh patria terra, alfina io Iti rivedo
    8. No. 5a, Al cader della notte
    9. No. 5b, Guardami! suf mio ciglio
    10. No. 5c, Non ti bastò il periglio
    11. No. 5d, Del tuo favour soccorrimi
    12. No. 5e, Un amplesso riceri, o pentita
    13. No. 6, Findanzata avventurosa
    14. No. 7a, Basta, basta, o fedeli!
    15. No. 7b, Cuniza, ah parmi
    16. No. 7c, Il pensier d'amore felice
    17. No. 7d, Fra il timpre e la speme
    18. No. 8, Alta cagione adunque
    19. No. 9, A, perche tanto in petto
    20. No. 10a, Son io stresso! A te davanti
    21. No. 10b, Su quella fronte impressa
    22. No. 11a, A me gli amici! Mira!
    23. No. 11b, A quell' aspetto un fremito
    24. No. 12, Infelice! Nel core tradito
    25. No. 13a, Riccardo! E che gli resta?
    26. No. 13b, Oh, chi torna l'ardente pensiero
    27. No. 13c, Piu che i vezzi e lo splendore
    28. No. 14, Dov'e l'astro che nel cielo
    29. No. 15a, Ei tarda ancor!
    30. No. 15b, L'orror del tradimento
    31. No. 15c, Ma tu, superbo giovane
    32. No. 16, Eccolo! e or son tranquillo
    33. No. 17a, Ferma! Ah troppo in questa terra
    34. No. 17b, La vergogna ed il dispetto
    35. No. 17c, Ah Riccardo, se a misera amante
    36. No. 18, Li vedeste? Ah si la mano
    37. No. 19, Ciel, che feci!
    38. No. 20, Dove son? il cerco invano!
    39. No. 21a, Vieni, o misera, cresciuta
    40. No. 21b, Sciagurata! a questo lido
    41. No. 22, Una messaggio a questo volta?

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2013 Oehms Classics OC 959
    2012 Decca
    2012 Decca 4784169
    2008 Gala Records 100798
    2007 Opus Arte OA0982D
    1987 Orfeo 1058421
    Fonit-Cetra Italia 78
    Disky 774