Nabucco | performance history

Performance history

19th century

The opening performances, limited to only eight because the season was coming to an end, were "a colossal success."[6] But, when the new season opened on 13 August 1842, about an additional 60 performances had been added by the end of that year.

Numerous Italian and foreign theatres put on this opera in the years immediately following, including La Fenice in Venice in December 1842. In 1843 Donizetti conducted it in Vienna, and other stagings took place that year in Lisbon and Cagliari. But the definitive name of Nabucco for the opera (and its protagonist) was first used at a performance at the San Giacomo Theatre of Corfu in September, 1844.[6] Nonetheless, a more plausible alternative for the establishment of this abbreviated form claims that it was the result of a revival of the opera in Teatro del Giglio of Lucca.[8]

The opera was first given in London at Her Majesty's Theatre on 3 March 1846 under the name of Nino, since the depiction of biblical characters on stage "was not considered proper".[9][10] In the US it appeared at the Astor Opera House in New York on 4 April 1848.[7]

20th century and beyond

Nabucco is frequently heard around the world today. It has been on the Metropolitan Opera's roster since it was first presented there during the 1960/61 season.[11] When the Metropolitan opened its season in September 2001, eleven days after the destruction of the World Trade Center, the chorus began by singing "Va pensiero" in honor of the victims of the attack.[12]

Nabucco is also regularly performed at the Arena di Verona.[13] Among the performances preserved on DVD are those at the Arena di Verona (1981 and 2007); La Scala (1987), Opera Australia (1996), Vienna State Opera (2001), Metropolitan Opera (2002), Genoa's Teatro Carlo Felice (2004), Teatro Municipale di Piacenza (2004), and Austria's St. Margarethen Opera Festival (2007).[14]

Many other companies have also performed it, including San Francisco Opera in 1982, Sarasota Opera in 1995 and 2019, London's Royal Opera House in 1996, Lyric Opera of Chicago in 1997 and 2016,[15] the New National Theatre Tokyo in 1998, Teatro Colón in 2000, Baltimore Opera in 2006, and the Teatro Regio di Parma in 2008 as part of their on-going "Festival Verdi".[16] Nabucco was presented by the Michigan Opera Theatre and the San Diego Opera as part of their 2009–2010 seasons. The Israeli Opera celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2010 with Nabucco at Masada, and performed it again in June 2019, accompanied by the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, in The Sultan's Pool, just outside the wall surrounding the Old City of Jerusalem. It was performed at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 1972 with Colin Davis[17] and March 2013 in a new co-production with La Scala, directed by Daniele Abbado [it],[18] which was relayed to cinemas and subsequently released on DVD. Seattle Opera produced its first-ever staging of Nabucco in August 2015.[19]