Giuseppe Verdi


Sun /
dec 24
StaatenHaus Saal 1 / 6:00 p.m. – 8:45 p.m. / Premiere / 20 € - 140 €
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Introduction 30 Minutes before the start of the performance in Saal 3.


The Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II is a biblical parable of hubris, punishment and catharsis. After all, would we still know his name if he had not made a major appearance in the Third Book of Daniel in the Old Testament? In a speech there, he tells of how, in accordance with a prophecy, he descended into madness, was cast out and lived like an animal. Only the revelation of “God of heaven” brought him back to human society.
The dramatic potential of the material had already been recognised before Giuseppe Verdi, but it was the then relatively unknown 27-year-old composer who made it famous. It was only his third opera, “Nabucco”, that catapulted him to fame throughout Europe in 1840 and opened a new chapter in the history of Italian opera. Melody and drama are intimately connected here. In this biblical opera, everything is huge: the story, the music, the characters, the emotions, the intrigues. And yet, in the parabolic struggle for power and existence, vulnerable people shine through.
Nabucco storms the Temple of Jerusalem and takes the Hebrews into Babylonian captivity. However, his daughter Fenena is amongst the Hebrews with her lover Ishmael. When his second daughter, Abigaille, realises that she has no legitimate claim to the throne, she makes a violent bid for power. In a triumphant frenzy, Nabucco finally declares himself a god, falls into a state of madness through divine punishment and becomes Abigaille’s prisoner. His confession to the “God of heaven” brings the turning point and his return to power, which he now exercises differently: he grants freedom to the captives. The Hebrew people, the choir, thus become the actual protagonists of the plot and their mournful song “Va, pensiero, sull’ali dorate”, based on the 137th Psalm, became Verdi’s most famous melody, perhaps even the most famous in the entire history of opera.
Ben Baur, who already created the sets for “Salome” and “Un ballo in maschera” in Cologne, now introduces himself as stage director at Oper Köln. Sesto Quatrini, an expert on the Italian repertoire, conducts the Gürzenich Orchestra.


Musikalische Leitung Sesto Quatrini / Giulio Cilona / Inszenierung Ben Baur / Bühne Ben Baur / Kostüme Julia Berndt / Choreographie Rachele Pedrocchi / Licht Nicol Hungsberg / Chorleitung Rustam Samedov / Dramaturgie Stephan Steinmetz /

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