top of page

Giuseppe Verdi


Giuseppe Verdi - NABUCCO
Arena di Verona, 1981 - English Subtitles



17:21 - Prode guerrier... Lo t'amava! (Abigaille, Fenena, Ismaele     - Proud warrior... I loved you!)
28:30 - Tremin gl'insani del mio furore! (Sextet     - Let the madmen tremble at my anger!)
32:56 - Mio furor, non più costretto (Sextet     - My anger, no longer restrained)
40:01 - Ben io t'invenni... Anch'io dischiuso un giorno   (Abigaille    - Good that I found... I too once had opened...)
48:27 - Salgo già del trono aurato (Abigaille     - Ascend to the gilded throne's blooded seat)
56:33 - Che si vuol? (Ismaele, chorus     - What can be wanted?)
1:00:54 - S'appressan gl'istanti (Quartet     - The moment of a deadly anger )
1:07:02 - Chi mi toglie il regio scettro?.. (Nabucco      - Who is taking the sceptre ?)
1:23:45 - Oh di qual onta...  Deh perdona (Nabucco, Abigaille     - Oh what shame... Alas, pardon)
1:32:05 - Va', pensiero (Chorus        - Go, thoughts)
1:36:51 - Oh chi piange? (Zaccaria, chorus             - Oh who weeps?)
1:46:40 - Dio di Giuda!... (Nabucco     - God of the Jews!)
1:52:52 - Cadran, cadranno i perfidi... (Nabucco, chorus      - The traitors shall fall)
2:01:25 - Su me... morente... (Abigaille    - On me..dying..)

Giuseppe Verdi - NABUCCO

Giuseppe Verdi - NABUCCO

Nabucco (Verdi). Libretto by Temistocle Solera; 4 acts; f.p. Milan 1842.

Jerusalem and Babylon, 587 вс: The Assyrian Nabucco (Nebuchadnezzar) is attempting to overthrow the Hebrew Temple. Nabucco's elder daughter Abigaille (who is illegitimate) is rejected by the Hebrew Ismaele in favour of the younger daughter, Fenena (who is a secret sympathizer with the Hebrews). Fenena, held hostage by the High Priest Zaccaria, releases the Hebrews held in the Temple, Nabucco orders Jerusalem's destruction. He declares himself god and orders Hebrews and Babylonians to worship him, whereupon he is struck by a thunderbolt and becomes demented, Abigaille attempts to replace him as ruler. Nabucco prays, recovers his sanity, and recognizes Jehovah as the only God. Abigaille takes poison, begs Fenena's forgiveness for trying to destroy her and the Hebrews, and dies. Zaccaria crowns the repentant Nabucco as king. The most famous music in the opera is the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves, sung by the hostage Hebrews on the banks of the River Euphrates as they dream of home (Va, pensiero...— 'Go, thoughts...') This chorus was sung spontaneously by the vast public following the cortege at Verdi's funeral in Milan in 1901.


Opera in 4 acts by Giuseppe Verdi with 
libretto by Temistocle Solera.

Nabucco, King of Assyria    
High Priest of Jerusalem 
daughter of NabuccoIsmaele   
Ismaele, Nephew of the King of Jerusalem
Fanenayounger daughter of Nabucco


Time: 587 BC
Place: Jerusalem and Babylon
First Performance: Teatro alla Scala, Milan, March 9, 1842


Baritone. King of Assyria, father of the illegitimate Abigaille and of Fenena—a secret sympathizer with the Hebrews whom Nabucco wants to destroy. Declares himself god, becomes demented, but repents and recovers his sanity. He is crowned king by the Hebrew High Priest Zaccaria. Aria: O prodi miei, seguitemi ('Follow me, my valiant men'). Created (1842) by Giorgio Ronconi.

G.Verdi - Nabucco -"O prodi miei, seguitemi"-Eugen Secobeanu

Bass. High Priest of Jerusalem. He holds Fenena, Nabucco's daughter, hostage in the temple. After Nabucco regains his sanity, Zaccaria crowns him king.
Created (1842) by Prosper Derivis. 

Cavatina di Zaccaria (Nabucco di G Verdi)

Soprano. Elder but illegitimate daughter of Nabucco. She is in love with the Hebrew Ismaele who rejects her in favour of her younger sister Fenena. She attempts to replace her father as ruler of Babylon, but later, as an act of remorse, commits suicide. Aria: Ben io t'invennï, o fatal scritto! (‘Happy chance I found you, o fatal document!’). Created (1842) by Giuseppina Strepponi (who became Verdi's wife).

Verdi - Nabucco - Kristina Kolar - Scena e Aria di Abigaille
Ben io t'invenni, o fatal scritto!... Anch'io dischiuso un giorno.. Salgo già del trono aurato

Tenor. Nephew of the King of Jerusalem, he is in love with Fenena (who secretly sympathizes with the Hebrews) daughter of the King of Babylon. Her older sister, Abigaille, is in love with Ismaele and resentful of his love for Fenena. Created (1842) by Corrado Miraglia.

Nabucco Tel Aviv Opera House - April 2015 Abigaille - Anna Pirozzi Fenena - Roxana Costantinescu Ismaele - Domenico Menini Conductor - Daniel Oren

Mezzo-soprano. Younger daughter of Nabucco and sister of Abigaille, who is very jealous of Fenena. When held hostage by the High Priest Zaccaria, Fenena (who is a secret sympathiser of the Hebrews) frees the Hebrews held in the Temple. Created (1842) by Giovannina Bellinzaghi.

Nabucco-air Fenena "O dischiuso e il firmamento"
Barbora Polaskova - Fenena
Days of European Heritage 2013 Upper Square, Olomouc


Act I: Jerusalem

'Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I shall deliver this city into the hand of the King of Babylon, and he will burn it with fire" (Jeremiah 21:10)

Interior of the Temple of Solomon.


The Israelites pray as the Babylonian army advances on their city
("Gli arredi festivi giù cadano infranti"
"Throw down and destroy all festive decorations").

The High Priest Zaccaria tells the people not to despair but to trust in God
("D'Egitto là su i lidi"
"On the shores of Egypt He saved the life of Moses").

The presence of a hostage, Fenena, younger daughter of Nabucco, King of Babylon, may yet secure peace
("Come notte a sol fulgente"
"Like darkness before the sun").

Zaccaria entrusts Fenena to Ismaele, nephew of the King of Jerusalem and a former envoy to Babylon. Left alone, Fenena and Ismaele recall how they fell in love when Ismaele was held prisoner by the Babylonians, and how Fenena helped him to escape to Israel. Nabucco's supposed elder daughter, Abigaille, enters the temple with Babylonian soldiers in disguise. She, too, loves Ismaele. Discovering the lovers, she threatens Ismaele: if he does not give up Fenena, Abigaille will accuse her of treason. If Ismaele returns Abigaille's love, however, Abigaille will petition Nabucco on the Israelites' behalf. Ismaele tells Abigaille that he cannot love her and she vows revenge.

Nabucco enters with his warriors
("Viva Nabucco"
"Long live Nabucco").

Zaccaria defies him, threatening to kill Fenena if Nabucco attacks the temple. Ismaele intervenes to save Fenena, which removes any impediment from Nabucco destroying the temple. He orders this, while Zaccaria and the Israelites curse Ismaele as a traitor.

Act II: The Impious One

"Behold, the whirlwind of the Lord goeth forth, it shall fall upon the head of the wicked" (Jeremiah 30:23)


Scene 1: Royal apartments in Babylon

Nabucco has appointed Fenena regent and guardian of the Israelite prisoners, while he continues the battle against the Israelites. Abigaille has discovered a document that proves she is not Nabucco's real daughter, but the daughter of slaves.

She reflects bitterly on Nabucco's refusal to allow her to play a role in the war with the Israelites and recalls past happiness ("Anch'io dischiuso un giorno"
"I too once opened my heart to happiness").

The High Priest of Bel informs Abigaille that Fenena has released the Israelite captives. He plans for Abigaille to become ruler of Babylon, and with this intention has spread the rumour that Nabucco has died in battle.

Abigaille determines to seize the throne
("Salgo già del trono aurato"
"I already ascend the [bloodstained] seat of the golden throne").

Scene 2: A room in the palace

Zaccaria reads over the Tablets of Law
("Vieni, o Levita"
"Come, oh Levite! [Bring me the tables of the law]"),

then goes to summon Fenena. A group of Levites accuse Ismaele of treachery. Zaccaria returns with Fenena and his sister Anna. Anna tells the Levites that Fenena has converted to Judaism, and urges them to forgive Ismaele. Abdallo, a soldier, announces the death of Nabucco and warns of the rebellion instigated by Abigaille. Abigaille enters with the High Priest of Bel and demands the crown from Fenena. Unexpectedly, Nabucco himself enters; pushing through the crowd, he seizes the crown and declares himself not only king of the Babylonians but also their god. The high priest Zaccaria curses him and warns of divine vengeance; an incensed Nabucco in turn orders the death of the Israelites. Fenena reveals to him that she has embraced the Jewish religion and will share the Israelites' fate.

Nabucco is furious and repeats his conviction that he is now divine
("Non son più re, son dio"
"I am no longer King! I am God!").

There is a crash of thunder and Nabucco promptly loses his senses. The crown falls from his head and is picked up by Abigaille, who pronounces herself ruler of the Babylonians.

Act III: The Prophecy

"Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wild beasts of the islands shall dwell there, and the owls shall dwell therein". (Jeremiah 50:39)

Scene 1: The Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Abigaille is now Queen of Babylon. The High Priest of Bel presents her with the death warrant for the Israelites, as well as for Fenena. Nabucco, still insane, tries to reclaim the throne without success. Though his consent to the death warrant is no longer necessary, Abigaille tricks him into signing it. When Nabucco learns that he has consigned his (true) daughter to death, he is overcome with grief and anger. He tells Abigaille that he is not in fact her father and searches for the document evidencing her true origins as a slave. Abigaille mocks him, produces the document and tears it up.

Realizing his powerlessness, Nabucco pleads for Fenena's life
("Oh di qual onta aggravasi questo mio crin canuto"
"Oh, what shame must my old head suffer").

Abigaille is unmoved and orders Nabucco to leave her.

Scene 2: The banks of the River Euphrates

The Israelites long for their homeland
("Va, pensiero, sull'ali dorate"
"Fly, thought, on golden wings; [Fly and settle on the slopes and hills]").

The high priest Zaccaria once again exhorts them to have faith: God will destroy Babylon. The Israelites are inspired by his words.

Act IV: The Broken Idol

"Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken pieces; her idols are confounded, her images are broken in pieces." (Jeremiah 50:2)

Scene 1: The royal apartments, Babylon

Nabucco awakens, still confused and raving. He sees Fenena in chains being taken to her death. In despair, he prays to the God of the Hebrews.

He asks for forgiveness, and promises to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem and convert to Judaism if his prayers are answered ("Dio di Giuda"
"God of Judah! [The altar, your sacred Temple, shall rise again]").

Miraculously, his strength and reason are immediately restored. Abdallo and loyal soldiers enter to release him. Nabucco resolves to rescue Fenena and the Israelites as well as to punish the traitors.


Scene 2: The Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Fenena and the Israelite prisoners are led in to be sacrificed
("Va! La palma del martirio"
"Go, win the palm of martyrdom").

Fenena serenely prepares for death. Nabucco rushes in with Abdallo and other soldiers. He declares that he will rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem and worship the God of the Israelites, ordering the destruction of the idol of Bel. At his word, the idol falls to the ground of its own accord and shatters into pieces. Nabucco tells the Israelites that they are now free and all join in praise of Jehovah. Abigaille enters, supported by soldiers. She has poisoned herself. She begs forgiveness of Fenena, prays for God's mercy and dies. Zaccaria proclaims Nabucco the servant of God and king of kings.



The historical Nebuchadnezzar II (c. 634–562 BC) took Jerusalem in 597 BC, but the madness plot of the opera differs from both archeological and biblical records of him. In the Book of Daniel, his madness lasts for seven years before his conversion to Judaism. But in the opera it only lasts for the time between the order to kill the Fenena and the Jews, and it being carried out. The biblical story of seven year madness followed by conversion bears more similarity to the Dead Sea Scrolls' story of Nabonidus (556–539 BC), father of Belshazzar in the Cylinders of Nabonidus, than to the historical Nebuchadnezzar. Nabonidus was the last king of Babylon, five kings later than Nebuchadnezzar, and Belshazzar was a temporary regent during Nabonidus' reign. Historical and biblical records agree that the Jews were freed and their temple was rebuilt not by the Babylonians but by Cyrus the Great following his conquest of Babylon in 539 BC. The opera's Nabucco character is thus a composite of historical and biblical Nebuchadnezzar II, Nabonidus and Cyrus.

bottom of page