After the failure of his 1840 opera, Un giorno di regno, Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi swore that it would be his last. Fortunately, he was tempted out of early retirement and in 1842 premiered the work which he himself saw as the beginning of his operatic career: Nabucco, a tale of oppression, love and betrayal, that opened to huge success and revived Verdi’s spirit and credibility. Now, this operatic classic is given a modern-day edge by Italian director, Daniele Abbado. The story focuses on the Babylonian King Nabucco’s invasion of the Kingdom of Judea, and persecution of its people. Rivalry between his two daughters, Fenena and Abigaille, ensues, as Fenena hopes to liberate Nabucco’s conquered subjects, whilst Abigaille—spurred by jealousy—aims to take the throne and condemn them to death. Brought into the present day through imagery and stage design evocative of the Holocaust, Abbado adds a poignant edge to this interpretation, which has received rave reviews throughout its run at Covent Garden’s Royal Opera House.
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