by Guiseppe Verdi

Opéra de Montréal kicks off its 35th season with a spirited and lyrical work—Nabucco, an early masterpiece by Verdi, featuring a surge of rousing arias and spectacular choruses, including the immortal “Va pensiero.” Stage director and set designer Thaddeus Strassberger offers a magnificent new production that has already been hailed in major American opera houses. Starring first-rate Verdian singers.

A thirst for power, a thirst for freedom…

The story
A war is being waged: Nabucco, King of Babylon, seeks revenge against the Hebrews, who have taken his daughter, Fenena, hostage. His other daughter, the ambitious Abigaille, is thirsting for power. Betrayal and madness await them…

Giuseppe Verdi
Verdi was born into a family of modest means—although perhaps not as modest as he liked to claim. He began his musical education with the village organist, went on to study with the maestro di musica in Busseto, and from there completed his studies in Milan—then considered the capital of Italian culture—with Lavigna, répétiteur at La Scala. Lavigna taught him counterpoint and composition, and encouraged him to attend opera performances.

Four internationally renowned Verdian singers are making their company debuts: Paolo Gavanelli sings the title role of Nabucco, Tatiana Melnychenko is the ambitious Abigaille, Nabucco’s supposed daughter, Ievgen Orlov portrays the High Priest Zaccaria, and Margaret Mezzacappa is Nabucco’s daughter Fenena. Canadian singers Antoine Bélanger (Ismaele), Pasquale D’Alessio (Abdallo), France Bellemare (Anna), and Jeremy Bowes (High Priest of Baal) complete the cast. Following his success with Il trovatore (2012), conductor Francesco Maria Colombo returns for this spectacular production.

The Opéra de Montréal Chorus, prepared by Claude Webster, joins the Orchestre Métropolitain for this co-production with the Washington National Opera, Minnesota Opera, and Opera Philadelphia.

The Story of an Oppressed People: Composed at a time when Italy was living under the yoke of foreign powers, Nabucco was often seen as a metaphor for the situation in Italy. Through Abigaille’s scheming, her involvement in the love triangle with Ismaele and Fenena, and her usurpation of the Babylonian throne, the opera shows us an oppressed people, defeated by the army of Nabucco, King of Babylon. Their only hope for freedom: Fenena, the Babylonian king’s daughter, whom they have taken hostage…

For information and tickets:  514-842-2112 or 1-866-842-2112

A dynamic and “user-friendly” introduction to the performance. Hosted by musicologist Pierre Vachon, this get-together is like a journey into the heart of the work’s music and history, its libretto and its symbols, the production’s artists, etc.

• Language: in French with brief summary in English.
• Duration: 30 minutes
• Place: Piano Nobile, salle Wilfrid-Pelletier
• Time: 6:30 pm
• Cost: Free for subscribers; $5 for general public
Anyone who wishes to attend the PreOpera talk must have a valid ticket for the opera performance on the same evening.

To purchase PreOpera tickets visit: