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    Giuseppe Verdi

    A lesser-known work by Verdi whose rich writing for orchestra and voices prefigures his greatest compositions.

    Photo Daniele Rustioni
    Daniele Rustioni © Blandine Soulage

    Francesco Meli Ernani
    Carmen Giannattasio Elvira
    Amartuvshin Enkhbat Don Carlos
    Roberto Tagliavini Don Ruy Gomez de Silva
    Solistes du Studio de l’Opéra National de Lyon
    Margot Genet
    Kaëlig Boché
    Don Riccardo
    Matthew Buswell

    Daniele Rustioni direction
    Opéra National de Lyon Choirs and Orchestra

    Sung in Italian with French and English subtitles

    Approximate running time
    1st part: 1h35 - Intermission: 20mn - 2nd part: 50mn

    Premiered on 9 March 1842 in Venice, Ernani was a huge hit, on a par with the composers’ Nabucco two years earlier at La Scala Milan. It was performed worldwide and was the most popular work in his repertoire until it was superseded by Il Trovatore in 1853. As with Nabucco, Verdi wanted to feature a major work with a historic and literary pedigree. Victor Hugo’s play ticked both boxes – it combined heroism and passion and was already famous for the polemic it had aroused. Ernani was also the start of a long and fruitful collaboration with librettist Francesco Piave. However, the work is also characterised by the adoption of a new style of dramatic writing in which both soloists and ensembles share the limelight. Although the king is a baritone, a register much loved by the musician, the hero is a tenor, thus initiating the great tenor tradition in Verdi’s operas. Maria del Monaco, Carlo Bergonzi, Placido Domingo were the great stars of the past. Francesco Meli, who has already sung the role in Rome, New York and Salzburg, has now earned his place in this Pantheon.

    Coproduction Théâtre des Champs-Elysées / Opéra National de Lyon
    France Musique broadcasts this concert on 23 November 8pm