University of Hartford "H" Magazine - Winter 2019

University of Hartford

When the University of Hartford was incorporated just over 50 years ago by business and community leaders, they envisioned a center of education and culture for Greater Hartford. Read more...

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Sunday Afternoon at the Opera - Verdi: Nabucco

03/12/2023 1:00 pm
03/12/2023 4:30 pm


Sunday Afternoon at the Opera host Keith Brown writes:

On the third Lenten Sunday you'll hear one of the greatest, most famous of Biblical operas still very much in the repertoire since its premiere in 1842. Nabucco is a milestone in Giuseppe Verdi's career as a composer. Oberto (1839) was an encouraging success on the boards at La Scala, but his second opera, Un Giorno di Regno (1840), was a flop. Verdi vowed never again to write for the lyric stage. The impressario Merelli prevailed upon the young Verdi to try one more time. The result was a work of genius not to be equalled until perhaps Luisa Miller (1849) or perhaps Rigoletto (1851). Nabucco is actually the contraction of the name Nebuchadnezzar. The libretto of the opera is drawn from episodes in the Old Testament dealing with the Babylonian captivity of the Hebrew nation.

Tito Gobbi sings in the title role of the ill-fated King of Assyria. He has been called the greatest Italian baritone of all time, and his dramatic interpretations of Verdi's male characters have never been surpassed. In 1966, when he was at the height of his powers, he recorded Nabucco for Decca/London. Lamberto Gardelli led the Vienna Opera Orchestra and Chorus of the Vienna State Opera. I have previously broadcast Nabucco from these three London stereo LPs on Sundays in September of 1988 and April of 2010.