- Roger Parker
Dramma lirico in four parts by Giuseppe Verdi to a libretto by Temistocle Solera after Antonio Cortesi’s ballet Nabuccodonosor and Auguste Anicet-Bourgeois’ and Francis Cornu’s play Nabuchodonosor; Milan, Teatro alla Scala, 9 March 1842.
The story of Nabucco began some 18 months before its first performance, soon after the successful première of Verdi’s first opera, Oberto, conte di San Bonifacio. A contract was drawn up between Verdi and Bartolomeo Merelli, impresario at La Scala, according to which Verdi would write three further operas. The first of these, the comic work Un giorno di regno, was a disastrous failure and (at least according to Verdi’s own later memories) the humiliation of public rejection caused the composer to give up his professional calling. However, in the winter of 1840–41, Merelli persuaded Verdi to take on Temistocle Solera’s libretto of Nabucco, which had been turned down by the young Prussian composer Otto Nicolai....