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Ernani

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
Book

Cast

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
Giovanna
Kaëlig Boché
Don Riccardo
Matthew Buswell
Jago

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 It was performed worldwide and was the most popular work in his repertoire until it was superseded by Il Trovatore in 1853.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