The Triumphant Return of Nabucco

28/01/2016

Verdi, Nabucco: Soloists, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Carlo Rizzi (conductor), Civic Opera House, Chicago. 23.01.2016. (JLZ)

NABUCCO_IMG_5755_c.Andrew Cioffi

Chicago Lyric Opera’s Nabucco (c) Andrew Cioffi

Verdi, Nabucco

Cast:

Nabucco: Željko Lučić
Abigaille: Tatiana Serjan
Zaccaria: Dmitry Belosselskiy
Fenena: Elizabeth DeShong
Ismaele: Sergey Skorokhodov
High Priest:  Stefan Szkafarowsky
Anna: Laura Wilde
Abdallo: Jesse Donner

Production:

Director: Matthew Ozawa
Set Designer: Michael Yeargan
Costume Designer: Jane Greenwood
Lighting Designer: Duane Schuler
Chorus Master: Michael Black
Conductor: Carlo Rizzi

After an absence of almost twenty years, Verdi’s Nabucco is back at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, with a cast that makes this powerful score resonate incisively. Carlo Rizzi’s insightful conducting set the tone from the start, with a keenly shaped overture. He articulated the instrumental quotations of the opera’s vocal music with remarkable distinction. The prominent brass sonorities were warm and burnished, and the strings were richly resonant.

This opera has its challenges in presenting an epic story from the destruction of the first temple in Jerusalem to the Assyrian court in Babylon, as the intrigues of the Bablyonian court undermine their own machinations to suppress and destroy the Jews in exile. But even with historic anachronisms and inaccuracies, the story is powered by some of Verdi’s most exquisite music.

The uniformly strong ensemble was anchored by Željko Lučić’s moving performance of the title role. He was particularly eloquent in the third-act scena with Abigaille (“Donna, chi sei?”) in which the deposed monarch confronts the usurper, and the stunned Nabucco attempts to assert his supremacy. Lučić gave full rein to the emotions in the opera’s concluding “Dio di Giuda.” If he seemed understated in the first act, he was clearly in full control and voice at the conclusion.

Tatiana Serjan made an authoritative Abigaille, one of Verdi’s most demanding roles. This young performer addressed the extremes of range, dynamics, articulations, and mood with the vitality the character requires. In the second-act scene, Serjan was astounding in the cavatina “Anch’io dischiuso de giorno,” followed by the cabaletta “Salgo dià dal trono aurato.” This was singing on the edge, her voice reaching the extremes of range with virtuosic accuracy. Sudden low pitches arrived with the same precision as very high ones, to the delight of the audience.

Dmitry Belosselskiy has similar panache as the prophet Zaccaria, etching the character powerfully with his rich, resonant bass. The lowest pitches essential in the first scene were as solid as the upper-range ones in the second-act prayer “Tu sol labbro.”

As the lovers Fenena and Ismaele, Ryan Center alumni Elizabeth DeShong and Sergey Skorokhodov effectively embodied their roles, especially in the trio “Io t’amavo!” (with Serjan). The clarity of musical lines and the enunciation of text was prominent. DeShong’s final-act aria “O, dischiuso è il firmament!” was a model of Verdian style. Increasing her intensity, DeShong brought out the florid passages to emphasize the aria’s concluding lines.

In addition to the principals, the chorus was notable for its tight ensemble, true pitch, and practiced articulation. The opening chorus “Gli arredi festivi” was persuasive for its rich sound and clear delivery. The famous “Va pensiero” was effortless, as was its complement, “Del futuro nel buio discerno.”

Rizzi’s masterful conducting gave the entire production a distinctive shape, with exemplary cohesiveness. A triumph of Verdi’s early career, Nabucco remains powerful, especially with the outstanding musicianship and stagecraft shown here. 

James L. Zychowicz

Print Friendly

Comments

Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews

Facebook-button-1

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! The Cleveland Orchestra’s 2018 Blossom Music Festival __________________________________
  • NEW! LA Opera’s 2018/19 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Buxton Festival 2018 and its New CEO __________________________________
  • NEW! Classical Music at the Barbican in 2018/19 __________________________________
  • NEW! Violinist Liza Ferschtman Celebrates Bernstein’s Centenary in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Piccadilly Chamber Music Series in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Opera and More in Buenos Aires in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Gloucester Choral Society’s Hubert Parry’s Centenary Celebrations in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Spend a Penny for Grange Park Opera’s Lavatorium Rotundum __________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The 2018 Lucerne Summer Festival __________________________________
  • NEW! Leeds Lieder’s Forthcoming Schubert Song Series in Leeds and Sheffield __________________________________
  • NEW! Contemporary Music from Manchester’s Psappha in 2017-18 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! I Musicanti’s Alexandra and the Russians at St Johns Smith Square in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov’s Return to London in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! St John’s Smith Square announces its 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! The Pierre Boulez Saal’s 2017/18 Season in Berlin __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! A Q&A WITH ANDREA CARÈ AS HE RETURNS TO COVENT GARDEN AS DON JOSÉ __________________________________
  • NEW! Chelsea Opera Group to Perform Rossini’s Mosè in Egitto at Cadogan Hall __________________________________
  • NEW! A Celebration of the Work of Dai Fujikura at Wigmore Hall on 17 February __________________________________
  • NEW! Rafael de Acha Introduces Some of Cincinnati’s New Musical Entrepreneurs __________________________________
  • NEW! ENB’s 2018 Emerging Dancer will be Chosen at the London Coliseum on 11 June __________________________________
  • NEW! Akram Khan’s Giselle for ENB Can be Seen in Cinemas from 25 April __________________________________
  • NEW! BARRY DOUGLAS IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • UPDATED! SOME OF OUR REVIEWERS CHOOSE THEIR ‘BEST OF 2017’ __________________________________
  • NEW! OMER MEIR WELLBER IN CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL COOKSON __________________________________
  • NEW! GREGOR TASSIE IN CONVERSATION WITH VALENTINA LISITSA __________________________________
  • NEW! Dénes Várjon Talks to Sebastian Smallshaw About Budapest’s Kamara.hu __________________________________
  • R.I.P. IN MEMORIAM – DMITRI HVOROSTOVSKY (1962-2017) __________________________________
  • NEW! Ann Murray’s Masterclass at the V&A Part of Opera: Passion, Power and Politics __________________________________
  • NEW! A Composer Speaks Up for the Environment: An Interview with Margaret Brouwer __________________________________
  • Archives by Week

    Archives by Month

    Search S&H