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Seattle Opera.

Nabucco

Aug. 8-22, 2015

Audio Broadcast: 98.1 KING FM
at 10 AM on August 1, 2020

Overview

The August 1, 2020 broadcast of this production on 98.1 KING FM was originally recorded on August 15 2015. It features Gordon Hawkins as Nabucco, Mary Elizabeth Williams as Abigaille, Jamie Barton as Fenena, and Christina Van Horn as Zaccaria. Full cast list is available below.

By Giuseppe Verdi

A MAGNIFICENT EPIC WITH AN ENGAGING TWIST. The splendor of ancient Babylon. The yearning of a nationless people. A king’s pride, a god’s wrath, a pair of star-crossed lovers. Verdi’s epic account of King Nebuchadnezzar comes to Seattle Opera for the very first time with an inventive new production that puts the orchestra at the heart of the action and brings you closer to the singers than ever before. Thrill to the “Va, pensiero” chorus, marvel at the grandeur, and connect with the characters on a whole new level.


In Italian with English subtitles | at McCaw Hall 
Approximate Running Time: 2 hours 45 minutes with 1 intermission

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Synopsis

Ancient Jerusalem and Babylon, 587 BCE

Part 1: Jerusalem
The Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. The Hebrews, that is, the people of Judah, pray as the armies of Babylon, led by King Nabucco (Nebuchadnezzar), sack their city. The High Priest, Zaccaria, urges the Hebrews not to despair:they have captured Nabucco's daughter, Fenena, and are holding her hostage. Zaccaria entrusts her to Ismaele, nephew of the king of Judah, not knowing that she and Ismaele are in love. (Earlier, when Ismaele was captive in Babylon, Fenena had fallen in love with him and helped him escape.) Abigaille, Fenena's half-sister, surprises the lovers. She, too, loves Ismaele; but he rebuffs her. Suddenly, Nabucco and his army march into the temple. Zaccaria confronts Nabucco and threatens to kill Fenena, but Ismaele protects his beloved. The Hebrews curse Ismaele as a traitor, and Nabucco orders the destruction of the temple.

Part 2: The Blasphemer
Nabucco's palace in Babylon. Abigaille has found a document proving that Nabucco is not really her father;that she is in fact lower than a slave. She intends to conceal the document and destroy Nabucco and Fenena. The High Priest of Baal (the Babylonian god) informs Abigaille that Fenena, appointed regent while Nabucco wages war, has freed Ismaele and the Hebrew captives. Dismayed by Fenena's treason, the priest suggests that Abigaille should be the one to rule Babylon. He has already begun spreading the rumor that Nabucco has fallen in battle. Abigaille vows to seize the throne.

Among the captive Hebrews, Zaccaria reads over the Tablets of Law, praying for inspiration to persuade the Babylonians to renounce their false idols. The Hebrews are furious with Ismaele for sparing Fenena, but they soften when they discover that she has converted to Judaism.

The rumor that Nabucco is dead reaches the palace. Supported by the Babylonians, Abigaille demands the crown from Fenena. But at that moment Nabucco himself enters. He declares that he is no longer king—he is god. A thunderbolt strikes him down; the crown falls from his head and he goes mad. Abigaille grabs the crown and proclaims herself ruler of Babylon.

Part 3: The Prophecy
In the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The High Priest urges Abigaille to have the Hebrews put to death. Before she can give the order, the mad Nabucco wanders in. Abigaille tricks him into signing the death warrant for the Hebrews. He finds out too late that he has consigned Fenena, now a Jew, to be killed. Abigaille tries to remind Nabucco that she, too, is his daughter, whereupon Nabucco looks for the document proving that Abigaille is the daughter of a slave. She rips the paper to pieces. Realizing his powerlessness, Nabucco pleads in vain for Fenena's life.

On the banks of the Euphrates. A chain-gang of enslaved Hebrews rests from forced labor, and in the great chorus "Va, pensiero," their thoughts turn to their beloved Zion. Zaccaria inspires them with a prophecy of the destruction of Babylon and the holy fire of courage.

Part 4: The Shattered Idol
From a window Nabucco watches Fenena and the Hebrew slaves being led to execution. Desperate, he prays to the God of the Hebrews for forgiveness. He promises to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem and convert to Judaism. His strength and reason are restored; he opens the door of the room where he is locked, gathers a band of loyal soldiers, and resolves to regain his throne, punish the traitors, and save his daughter.

The Hebrews are about to be sacrificed to Baal. Fenena serenely prepares for death when Nabucco rushes in and stops the sacrifice. He declares he will rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem and worship the God of the Hebrews. All join in prayer. Abigaille confesses her crimes, begs forgiveness of Fenena, prays for God's mercy, and dies. Nabucco frees the Hebrews, and everyone unites in praising God.

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Cast

Gordon Hawkins

Nabucco

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: Amonasro, Aida

Hometown: Washington, DC
Seattle Opera Debut: Amonasro, Aida (’92) 
Previously at Seattle Opera: Nabucco, Nabucco (’15); Porgy, Porgy and Bess (’11); Count di Luna, Il trovatore (’10); Donner/Gunther, Der Ring des Nibelungen (’09) 
Recently:Scarpia, Tosca (Arizona Opera); Amonasro, Aida (Washington National Opera); Alberich, Der Ring des Nibelungen (Washington National Opera)

Last updated: May 2018

Gordon Hawkins

Nabucco

August 8, 12, 15, & 22

Weston Hurt

Nabucco

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: Sharpless, Madame Butterfly

Hometown: Houston, TX
Seattle Opera Debut:
Germont, La traviata (‘09)
Previously at Seattle Opera:  Giorgio Germont, La traviata (’17); Talbot, Mary Stuart (’16); Nabucco, Nabucco (’15)
Recently: Scarpia, Tosca (Houston Grand Opera); Valentin, Faust (New Orleans Opera); Scarpia, Tosca (Tulsa Opera)
Upcoming: Scarpia, Tosca (Nashville Opera); John Peeribyngle, Il grillo del focolare (Teatro Grattacielo); Creon, Medea (Opera Omaha)

Last updated: July 2017

Weston Hurt

Nabucco

August 9, 14, & 19

Mary Elizabeth Williams

Abigaille

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: Serena, Porgy and Bess

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Seattle Opera Debut: Leonora, Il trovatore (’10)
Previously at Seattle Opera: Elisabetta, Mary Stuart (’16); Abigaille, Nabucco (’15); Tosca, Tosca (’15)
Recently: Serena, Porgy and Bess (Teatro alla Scala); Santuzza, Cavalleria Rusticana (Teatro Nacional de Sao Cãrlos); Leonora, La forza del destino (Welsh National Opera)
Upcoming: Abigaille, Nabucco (Opéra de Lille and Opéra de Dijon); Amelia, Un ballo in maschera (Welsh National Opera)

Last updated: July 2018

 

Mary Elizabeth Williams

Abigaille

August 8, 12, 15, & 22

Raffaella Angeletti

Abigaille

Soprano
At Seattle Opera in 2015/16: Abigaille, Nabucco
Seattle Opera Debut

Hometown: Torino, Italy
Recently: Abigaille, Nabucco (Opéra national de Lorraine and NHK Symphony Orchestra); Tosca, Tosca,and Amneris, Aida (Teatro dell’Opera di Roma)
Upcoming: Suor Angelica and Giorgetta, Il trittico (Teatro dell’Opera di Roma); Lady Macbeth, Macbeth (Theater St. Gallen)

Last updated: August 2015

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Raffaella Angeletti

Abigaille

Seattle Opera Debut
August 9, 14, & 19

Christian Van Horn

Zaccaria

At Seattle Opera in 2015/16: Zaccaria, Nabucco
Seattle Opera Debut

Hometown: Long Island, NY
Recently: Narbal, Les Troyens (San Francisco Opera); Four Villains, Les contes d’Hoffmann (Bayerische Staatsoper); Colline, La bohème (San Diego Opera)
Upcoming: Alidoro, La Cenerentola, and Frère Laurent, Roméo et Juliette (Lyric Opera of Chicago); Colline, La bohème (Metropolitan Opera)


Last updated: August 2015

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Christian Van Horn

Zaccaria

Seattle Opera Debut
August 8, 12, 15, & 22

Andreas Bauer

Zaccaria

At Seattle Opera in 2015/16: Zaccaria, Nabucco
Seattle Opera Debut

Hometown: Frankfurt, Germany
Recently: Vodnìk, Rusalka, and Fiesco, Simon Boccanegra (Oper Frankfurt); Hermit, Der Freischütz (Semperoper Dresden)
Upcoming: Filippo II, Don Carlos, Daland, Der fliegende Holländer (Oper Frankfurt); King Henry, Lohengrin (New National Theatre, Tokyo)


Last updated: August 2015

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Andreas Bauer

Zaccaria

Seattle Opera Debut
August 9, 14, & 19

Jamie Barton

Fenena

At Seattle Opera in 2020/21: Angela Meade & Jamie Barton in Concert
Seattle Opera Debut: Fenena, Nabucco ('16)

Hometown: Rome, GA
Recently: Orfeo, Orfeo ed Euridice (Metropolitan Opera); Jezibaba, Rusalka (San Francisco Opera); Azucena, Il trovatore (Lyric Opera of Chicago)
Upcoming: Eboli, Don Carlo (Dallas Opera); Mère Marie, Dialogues des Carmélites (Bayerische Staatsoper); Julia Child, Bon Appétit! (Houston Grand Opera) 


Last updated: September 2020

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Jamie Barton

Fenena

Seattle Opera Debut
August 8, 9, 12, 14, 15, 19, & 22

Russell Thomas

Ismaele

At Seattle Opera in 2015/16: Ismaele, Nabucco
Previously at Seattle Opera: Hoffmann, The Tales of Hoffmann (’14); Foresto, Attila (’12)
Seattle Opera Young Artist: 2002/03

Hometown: Miami, FL
Recently: Manrico, Il trovatore (Cincinnati Opera); Faust, Faust (Detroit Opera House); Pollione, Norma (Palau de la Musica, Valencia)
Upcoming: Turiddu, Cavalleria rusticana (Deutsche Oper Berlin); Pollione, Norma (Los Angeles Opera); Stiffelio, Stiffelio (Oper Frankfurt)


Last updated: August 2015

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Russell Thomas

Ismaele

August 8, 9, 12, 14, 15, 19, & 22