Music by Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto by Temistocle Solera
An opera in four acts in Italian
Conducted by Carlo Rizzi
Stage Director Matthew Ozawa
At the Lyric Opera of Chicago
Beautiful melodies with wonderful chorus singing propels Verdi’s first hit opera.
Giuseppe Verdi’s 1842 opera, Nabucco was not only his first hit, it became an example of the glory of “Grand Opera.” The Lyric Opera of Chicago’s current production features the marvelous melodic tone of Verdi’s music with the lush sound of the 82 member Lyric chorus. I can’t remember an opera that so eloquently used a large chorus than Nabucco does. With the sleek pillar-oriented set (designed by Michael Yeargan) and evocative lighting (by Duane Schuler) onto the stark red costumes depicting the Babylonians versus the black ones to depict the Hebrews, Nabucco is a pure melodic spectacle grand opera.
Nabucco follows the plight of the Jews as they are assaulted, conquered, and subsequently exiled from their homeland by the Babylonian King Nabucco (Zeljko Lucic). The historical events are used as background for a romantic and political plot. The best-known number from the opera is the “Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves”, Va, pensiero, sull’ali dorate / “Fly, thought, on golden wings,” a chorus wonderfully sung here.
Nabucco is peopled by a powerful set of major opera talents led by Tatiana Serjan, the soprano with a huge vocal range and expert acting chops. Baritone Zeljko Lucic is the laid-back King Nabucco who eventually does the right thing with the Hebrews. This opera features several superb bass vocalists: Dmitry Belosselsktv as Zaccaria and Stefan Szkafarowsky as the High Priest of Baal. Tenor Sergei Skorokhodov and mezzanine-soprano Elizabeth DeShong round out the terrific cast. This four act, three hour grand opera has two real stars. One the Lyric Opera’s orchestra under the leadership of conductor Carlo Rizzi and the other is the marvelous Lyric chorus under the leadership of Chorus Master Michael Black.
This engrossing spectacle is a marvelous production that could be a perfect introduction for young folks and newbies to the wonders of opera. The captivating melodies, the power marches and anthems, with the enticing choral singing and the story will impress and enchant all who experience it. After seeing Nabucco, you’ll see why Verdi impressed as a grand master composer with this work. Newbies will appreciate the stage craft of the creatives at the Lyric Opera of Chicago as one of the world’s finest opera companies.
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For more info checkout the Nabucco page at theatreinchicago.com
Presented by Lyric Opera of Chicago, runs through February 12 at the Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive. 312-827-5600)