The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Opera

By John Warrack; Ewan West | Go to book overview


Nabucco (Nabucodonosor). Opera in 4 acts by Verdi; text by Solera, after the drama by Anicet-Bourgeois and Francis Cornue, Nabucodonosor( 1836). Prem. Milan, S, 9 Mar. 1842.

Originally entitled Nabucodonosor (Nebuchadnezzar), the opera was first billed as Nabucco at the T San Giacomo, Corfu, in 1844, and has since been generally known by this abbreviation.

Jerusalem and Babylon, 586 BC. The Jews lament their defeat by Nabucco, and implore Jehovah to spare the Temple. Ismaele (ten) is holding Nabucco's daughter Fenena (sop) hostage; they declare their love. Abigaille (sop), her supposed sister and also in love with Ismaele, appears with soldiers and offers to save him. Nabucco (bar) now arrives; Zaccaria (bs), the High Priest, threatens Fenena's life so as to deny him the Temple, but Ismaele frustrates him and Nabucco sacks the Temple.

The Jews are captive in Babylon, with Fenena acting as Regent in Nabucco's absence. Abigaille discovers that she is not Nabucco's daughter but an adopted slave. She plans to kill Fenena, who has converted to the Jewish faith, and seize the throne. But Nabucco appears and seizes the crown, proclaiming himself divine; he is immediately struck down by a thunderbolt and made mad.

Abigaille is now Regent, as Nabucco is forced to acknowledge, and plans to kill the prisoners. By the Euphrates, they sing of their lost fatherland.

Nabucco, from prison, sees Fenena led to execution and prays to Jehovah. Freed by Abdallo (ten), Captain of the Guard, he rushes to the scaffold with his men, overthrows the false idols, and saves her. All join in prayer and thanks; Abigaille appears, having taken poison, and dies penitent.

Nachbaur, Franz (b Giessen, 25 Mar. 1830; d Munich, 21 Mar. 1902). German tenor. Studied Milan with Lamperti, Stuttgart with PiS+̆ek. Début Passau 1857. Hanover 1859; Prague 1860-3; Munich, N, 1867-90, when he retired; London, DL, 1882; Moscow 1887. A handsome, musical singer with a good technique, he pleased Wagner as the first Walther. Also first Froh; other roles included Rienzi, Lohengrin, Siegmund, Tannhäuser, Radamès, Gounod's Faust, Raoul, Chapelou ( Postillon de Lonjumeau).

Nacht in Venedig, Eine (A Night in Venice). Operetta in 3 acts by Johann Strauss II; text by 'F. Zell' (Camillo Walzel) and Genée. Prem. Berlin, Friedrich-Wilhelm-Städtisches T, 3 Oct. 1883.

Venice, 18th cent. The old senator Delacqua (bs) decides to marry his ward Barbara (sop), who is being wooed by both Delacqua's nephew Enrico (ten or spoken) and the Duke of Urbino (ten or bar). The plot is further complicated by the fact that Annina, who had been brought up by the same nurse as Barbara, changes clothes with her during the Venetian Carnival, while Ciboletta (sop), engaged to Pappacoda (bar), pretends she is Barbara. By the end of the opera Caramello (ten), the Duke's barber, has married Annina, and Enrico has married Barbara.

Nachtlager von Granada, Das (The Night Camp at Granada). Opera in 2 acts by Conradin Kreutzer; text by K. J. Braun von Braunthal, after Kind's drama. Prem. Vienna, J, 13 Jan. 1834.

Spain, mid-16th cent. Disguised as a hunter, the Crown Prince of Spain (bar) is granted a night's shelter by shepherds, who decide, however, to kill and rob him when they find him kissing the shepherdess Gabriela (sop). She is loved by, and loves, Gomez (ten), but is also being pursued by Vasco (bs), whom her uncle Ambrosio (bs) wishes her to marry. She appeals to the 'hunter' for assistance, who promises to intercede for her with the Crown Prince. When she and Gomez, having found the Prince's followers, expose the plot, he reveals himself as the Prince and unites her and Gomez.

'Nacqui all 'affanno'. Cenerentola's (mez) aria in Act II of Rossini's Cenerentola, rejoicing at the happy change in her fortunes and embracing her stepsisters and stepfather. One of the most difficult and brilliant of coloratura arias.

Nadir. A fisherman (ten), friend of Zurga and his rival for Leïla's love, in Bizet's Les pécheurs de perles.


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The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Opera
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Key to Vocal Compasses x
  • Abbreviations xi
  • A 1
  • B 28
  • C 72
  • D 112
  • E 144
  • F 157
  • G 181
  • H 218
  • I 241
  • J 251
  • K 259
  • L 277
  • M 305
  • N 356
  • O 370
  • P 384
  • Q 419
  • R 421
  • S 449
  • T 505
  • U 525
  • V 529
  • W 545
  • X 563
  • Y 564
  • Z 565


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