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Ensemble

Intense Confrontation

Verdi's 'Ernani' - more revolutionary than patriotic,
reviewed by GIUSEPPE PENNISI

 

Ernani, Verdi's fifth opera, in the current Teatro Comunale di Bologna production, could be a good device to set aside, once and forever, the myth of Verdi as a front line patriot of the Italian unification movement (Risorgimento). The composer was about thirty years old when, after a long gestation, the opera was completed. He was not a patriot at all (in the sense intended during Risorgimento), but a red hot revolutionary like his peer (in terms of age) Richard Wagner who, a couple of years earlier, had completed and staged Rienzi, der Letzt der Tribunen ('Rienzi, the Last of the Tribunes'). The three act Wagner opera lasts almost five hours, whilst Verdi's four act Ernani develops an involved plot in little over two hours, but with three intermissions in Bologna, the performance ran from 8pm until 11.30pm.

Nonetheless, both operas have a young revolutionary fever .....

Copyright © 15 May 2011 Giuseppe Pennisi,
Rome, Italy

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GIUSEPPE VERDI

FRANCESCO MARIA PIAVE

BOLOGNA

ITALY

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