What: Verdi’s epic NABUCCO
Where: Benedum Center for the Performing Arts, Downtown Pittsburgh
NABUCCO is the opera that made Verdi famous, and rightly so: the world saw his genius at work in this appealing early opera, and the famous Hebrew slaves’ chorus “Va, pensiero” is still sung by those who yearn for peace. Director Bernard Uzan, a recipient of the Giulio Gari Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award, created this moving production that features a series of projections depicting the Jews in exile through the ages – and bringing to mind current events such as the exodus of refugees from Syria and other countries.
|Babylonian ruler Nabucco (Mark Delavan) orders the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, to the horror of the Israelites (Pittsburgh Opera Chorus and Supernumeraries).|
Tickets to NABUCCO start at $12, with all performances at the Benedum Center, 7th Street and Penn Avenue, in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. For additional information, videos, photos, cast biographies, and the full story of NABUCCO, visit www.pittsburghopera.org. To purchase tickets, call 412-456-6666 or visit www.pittsburghopera.org.
|Abigaille (Csilla Boross) challenges the authority of Nabucco's other daughter Fenena (Resident Artist Laurel Semerdjian) to rule in their father's absence.|
In the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, the Israelites pray for help against Nabucco (Nebuchadnezzar), the King of Babylon, who has attacked the city. Zaccaria, their high priest, enters with Nabucco’s daughter, Fenena, whom the Hebrews hold hostage. He reassures his people that the Lord will not forsake them. As the Israelites leave, Ismaele, nephew of the king of Jerusalem, is left alone with Fenena, who helped him escape from imprisonment in Babylon. Their conversation is interrupted by Fenena’s half-sister, Abigaille, with some Babylonian soldiers. Abigaille tells Ismaele that she can save his people if he will return her love, but he refuses. The Israelites rush back into the temple in a panic, and when Nabucco enters with his warriors, Zaccaria confronts him, threatening to kill Fenena. Nabucco orders the destruction of the temple.
Nabucco has appointed Fenena regent while he is away at war. Abigaille, back in the royal palace in Babylon, has found a document saying that she is not the king’s daughter, but the child of slaves. Foreseeing a future in which Fenena and Ismaele will rule together over Babylon, she swears vengeance on Nabucco and Fenena.
The High Priest of Baal arrives with news that Fenena has freed the Israelite prisoners. As a result of Fenena’s treason, he offers the throne to Abigaille and spreads a rumor that Nabucco has died in battle. Ismaele enters and the priests accuse him of treachery, but Zaccaria announces that he has been pardoned for saving a fellow Israelite – the newly converted Fenena. An officer warns Fenena that the king is dead and her life is in danger. Before she can escape, the High Priest of Baal proclaims Abigaille ruler. She is about to crown herself when Nabucco snatches the crown from her, faces the crowd and declares himself not only their king but their god. For this blasphemy, a thunderbolt strikes him down. A triumphant Abigaille takes the crown for herself.
|Nabucco (Mark Delavan) has suffered a breakdown, and Abigaille (Csilla Boross) tricks him into signing the Hebrews' death warrant, then sends him back to prison.|
In the Hanging Gardens, the Babylonians hail Abigaille as their ruler. The High Priest urges her to have the Israelites killed, but before she can give the order, a disheveled Nabucco wanders in. Abigaille dismisses the crowd. Alone with Nabucco, she tricks him into signing the death warrant for the Israelites. He asks what will happen to Fenena, and Abigaille replies that she too must die. When Nabucco tries to find the document proving Abigaille’s ancestry, she produces it and destroys it. Nabucco pleads in vain for Fenena’s life.
On the banks of the Euphrates, the Israelites rest from forced labor, their thoughts turning to their homeland.
|The Israelites mourn for their homeland on the banks of the Euphrates River, in the famous chorus "Va, pensiero".|
Fenena and the Israelites are led to execution, and Nabucco can only watch, as he has been imprisoned by Abigaille. Desperate, he prays to the God of Israel for forgiveness, pledging to convert himself and his people. His sanity restored, he forces open the door and summons his soldiers to regain the throne and save his daughter. The Israelites are about to be executed. Nabucco rushes in and stops the sacrifice. Abigaille takes poison and dies, confessing her crimes and praying to the God of Israel to pardon her. Nabucco announces his conversion and frees the Israelites, telling them to return to their native land and rebuild their temple. Israelites and Babylonians are united in praising God.
|Nabucco's treacherous daughter Abigaille (Csilla Boross) takes poison and dies in her father's arms.|
The 2015-16 Pittsburgh Opera season is generously supported by PNC.
WQED-FM is Season Media Sponsor.
Chorus Master Mark Trawka
COMING UP NEXT for Pittsburgh Opera:
Related Events for NABUCCO
Market Square Farmers Market Noontime Concerts
Tuesday, October 13
Description service at our Tuesday performances. Trained volunteers describe the scenery, costumes, and stage action via headphones. Those wishing to use Audio Description
should reserve seats to the Tuesday, October 13 performance: contact Randy Adams at 412-281-0912, ext. 213 firstname.lastname@example.org. Braille and large-print programs are also available.
Saturday, October 17 – 12:00 p.m.
At the first Brown Bag concert of the season, our Resident Artists sing some of their favorite arias and ensembles. These casual, one-hour concerts feature our Resident Artists in the George R. White Opera Studio at Pittsburgh Opera Headquarters. Guests can meet the performers afterward. Free and open to everyone; no RSVP required. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. For more information: (412) 281-0912 orpittsburghopera.org