Nabucco

Nabucco - Dramma lirico in four parts
Libretto by Temistocle Solera
First performed on 9. March, 1842 at Milan
Premiered at the Deutsche Oper Berlin on 8. September, 2013
Giuseppe Verdi (1813 – 1901)
In Italian language with German and English surtitles

“Va, pensiero, sull’ali dorate” – Take flight, thought, on golden wings”. When those words first rang out in the Milan Scala on 9th March 1842, sung by the Hebrew slaves chorus in the third act of NABUCCO, Giuseppe Verdi's new opera, the master was making history. The “Slaves Chorus” was quickly adopted as the unofficial national anthem of a not-yet-unified Italy and the hopes of a generation of opera-goers were suddenly vested in the young composer.

The dramatic tale of Israelite subjugation under the Babylonian yoke of King Nebuchadnezzar remains one of Verdi's best-known operas and was last staged at the Deutsche Oper Berlin by Hans Neuenfels 13 years ago. In Verdi's anniversary year the material is now being rendered by Keith Warner, one of the big names in international opera. The Englishman has directed LOHENGRIN at the Bayreuth Festival and THE RING OF THE NIBELUNG at Covent Garden and more recently for the Copenhagen Opera. Set in the same period that the piece was written, a time of transition from feudalism to a bourgeois, industrialising society, Warner's NABUCCO focuses on the opposing natures of two nations – the modern Hebrews, whose culture is informed by a script and by education as a democratic ideal, and the militaristic Babylonians, whose concept of a state is founded in autocratic rule.

Program and cast

Conductor: Carlo Montanaro

Director: Keith Warner

Stage design: Tilo Steffens

Costume design: Julia Müer

Chorus Master: Jeremy Bines

Nabucco: Amartuvshin Enkhbat

Ismaele: Atilio Glaser

Zaccaria: Mika Kares

Abigaille: Anna Pirozzi

Fenena: Jana Kurucová

High priest of Baal: Padraic Rowan

Abdallo: Gideon Poppe

Anna: Aviva Fortunata

Chorus: Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin

Orchestra: Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin

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Deutsche Oper Berlin

The Deutsche Oper Berlin is an opera company located in the Charlottenburg district of Berlin, Germany. The resident building is the country's second largest opera house and also home to the Berlin State Ballet.

The company's history goes back to the Deutsches Opernhaus built by the then independent city of Charlottenburg—the "richest town of Prussia"—according to plans designed by Heinrich Seeling from 1911. It opened on November 7, 1912 with a performance of Beethoven's Fidelio, conducted by Ignatz Waghalter. After the incorporation of Charlottenburg by the 1920 Greater Berlin Act, the name of the resident building was changed to Städtische Oper (Municipal Opera) in 1925.

Deutsches Opernhaus, 1912
With the Nazi Machtergreifung in 1933, the opera was under control of the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. Minister Joseph Goebbels had the name changed back to Deutsches Opernhaus, competing with the Berlin State Opera in Mitte controlled by his rival, the Prussian minister-president Hermann Göring. In 1935, the building was remodeled by Paul Baumgarten and the seating reduced from 2300 to 2098. Carl Ebert, the pre-World War II general manager, chose to emigrate from Germany rather than endorse the Nazi view of music, and went on to co-found the Glyndebourne opera festival in England. He was replaced by Max von Schillings, who acceded to enact works of "unalloyed German character". Several artists, like the conductor Fritz Stiedry or the singer Alexander Kipnis followed Ebert into emigration. The opera house was destroyed by a RAF air raid on 23 November 1943. Performances continued at the Admiralspalast in Mitte until 1945. Ebert returned as general manager after the war.

After the war, the company in what was now West Berlin used the nearby building of the Theater des Westens until the opera house was rebuilt. The sober design by Fritz Bornemann was completed on 24 September 1961. The opening production was Mozart's Don Giovanni. The new building opened with the current name.

© Günter Karl Bose
© 2013 // Bernd Uhlig
© Bettina Stöß
© 2013 // Bernd Uhlig
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