NABUCCO Student Guide | Opera Philadelphia

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Opera Philadelphia and t h e S c h oo l D i s t r i c t o f P h i l a d e l p h i a present



Academy of Music | final Dress Rehearsal W e d n e s d ay, SE P T EM B ER 2 5 , 2 0 1 3 A T 2 : 0 0 P. M .


Opera Philadelphia believes the family is the most important foundation to learning. Let your kitchen table become a classroom where your children can build their knowledge of opera and the humanities. As you join in the teaching and learning process with your children, watch their eyes sparkle. Opera is a communal celebration, so too should be your children’s education. Pennsylvania’s standards in education call for students to demonstrate what they know and are able to do, and children need to share what they have discovered or learned. Thus, the title of our program is Sounds of Learning™. It reflects our belief that children must actively engage in sharing ideas. The Sounds of Learning™ workbook and teacher guide will integrate with the local core literacy curriculum in many ways. Just as opera is a uniquely integrated art combining orchestra, voice, literature, drama, and dance, Sounds of Learning™ is an interdisciplinary, student-centered program. The goal of the Active Learning sections is to engage children in the process of self-teaching. They will gain insights into their learning by drawing, writing, and discussing the issues most relevant to them. In this way, students demonstrate what they can do with what they know. In reading the libretto, or script, we suggest that you and your family members take turns reading particular roles. Dr. Ellen Winner of Harvard’s “Project Zero” found that “drama helps to build verbal skills that transfer to new materials” and helps improve not only students’ reading skills, but also “oral and written language development.” ( Journal of Aesthetic Education, v34, #3/4, Fall/Winter, 2000.) In preparing for the opera, we suggest you purchase one of EMI Classics’s excellent audio or video recordings of this opera. We are grateful to EMI Classics for offering their libretti to us for use in our program. Together we hope to build future audiences for, and performers of, the arts. Visit EMI on the web at GOALS AND OBJECTIVES OF SOUNDS OF LEARNING™

Improve literacy achievement by using the opera’s libretto to teach lessons across the curriculum Understand the plot, characters, and their motivations of the opera Learn something about the composer and others involved in writing the opera Make a connection to the historic and social context of the story Know some key musical elements, recognize certain melodies, differentiate between voices Understand the role music plays in expressing emotions and heightening the dramatic experience Understand the various elements of producing opera and the functions of those involved;

e.g. conductor, director, set designer, technical crew, etc.

Develop the ability to make inferences about the opera, production, and performance. Relate incidents in the opera to those of the present day


Best Practices in Arts Education is sponsored by Pennsylvania Alliance for Arts Education, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Pennsylvania Department of Education


Going to the Opera at the Academy of Music

5 Theater Anatomy 6

Opera Vocabulary

7 Connect the Opera Terms 8 The Then and Now of Opera



Giuseppe Verdi: Hero of Italy

11 Italy Unites with V.E.R.D.I. 12 The Life and Times of Giuseppe Verdi 14

Nabucco: A King’s Story

15 The Mythical and Wondrous Hanging Gardens of Babylon



Nabucco: Synopsis


Giuseppe Verdi: Nabucco Libretto


Meet the Artists


29 Iraq: Modern Babylon 32

Nabucco: Crossword Puzzle

34 Literary Terms 35 Find the Literary Terms in Nabucco 36

Sequence of the Story

37 Plot the Action in Nabucco 38 Character Comparisons in Nabucco 39

Conflicts and Loves in Nabucco


Building Costumes and Character

41 The Italian-English Connection 42 Careers in the Arts 43

Supplemental Activities

44 Glossary 3

G O I N G T O T H E O P E R A AT T H E AC A D E M Y O F M U S I C There’s nothing as exciting as attending the opera in a theater like the Academy of Music, where you’ll see the final dress rehearsal of Giuseppe Verdi’s Nabucco. The Academy is a very special building in that it is the country’s oldest grand opera house still used for its original purpose - performing opera! It is a grand opera house with a huge chandelier hanging from the ceiling. Its four-level design was based on the famous La Scala opera house in Milan, Italy. The Academy opened on January 26, 1857 with a Grand Ball and Promenade Concert and the first opera performed there was Verdi’s Il trovatore on February 25, 1857. The Academy is so important to our nation’s history that it was made a Registered National Historic Landmark in 1963. Thousands of world-famous performers have also appeared on its stage, like Peter Tchaikovsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff, George Gershwin, Igor Stravinsky, Arturo Toscanini, Marian Anderson, Maria Callas, and Luciano Pavarotti. More recently Alvin Ailey, Billy Joel, Elton John, Savion Glover, Chris Rock, even Mike Tyson and Jerry Springer have performed there! When you’re at the Academy of Music for Nabucco, you may see several computer monitors and a large table spread out over the seats in the center of the first floor of the auditorium. Seated in this area is the production team: Director, Assistant Director, Costume Designer, Lighting Designer, and Set Designer, among others. They’ll be taking notes and communicating via headsets with the many people backstage who help make operatic magic. They’ll be able to talk to the crew so changes can be made right away. Should things goes wrong, the rehearsal might be stopped or a part repeated to make sure that it is perfect. Unlike actors on television or in the movies, performers on stage are very aware of the audience. They want to share their love of performing with you. Everything you do in the audience affects what happens on stage. You can show them how much you appreciate their work and the opportunity to come to the rehearsal by being as quiet as possible. Show your respect for the cast, musicians, the production team, and everyone in the theater by not talking. Give the artists and the production your full attention!

D O s a n d D O N ’ T s at t h e O P E R A Here’s some things you can do to make sure everyone in the theater can enjoy the opera: Use the bathrooms before the opera begins or at intermission. Enter and exit the theater in an orderly fashion. Turn off your cell phones and all electronic devices. Applaud after the arias; you can shout “Bravo!” for the men and “Brava!” for the women. Don’t Forget... Please obey the theater ushers and staff. No food, gum or beverages are allowed inside the theater. No photographs or audio/video recording may not be taken during the performance. No talking or whispering during the performance. No shoving, jumping, running, spitting or throwing anything in the theater. Make your school proud!

A C A D E M Y O F M U S I C F U N FA C T S The auditorium seats 2,897; 14 columns support the Academy’s tiers; the auditorium is encased within a three feet thick solid brick wall. The Academy Chandelier is 25 feet high, 50 feet in circumference, almost 17 feet in diameter, and 3,500 pounds in weight. It has 23,000 crystals on it, which, if laid out, could reach from Broad Street to Rittenhouse Square and back. The red and gold pattern on the Academy’s stage curtain is of a pineapple, a Victorian-era symbol for “welcome.” The first-ever indoor football game was held at the Academy on March 7, 1889 between the University of Pennsylvania and Riverton Club of Princeton. At halftime, tug-of-war matches were held as entertainment. 1,600 people attended the first-ever motion picture screening on February 5, 1870. The film showed a gymnastics routine, a couple dancing, and more. Air conditioning was installed in 1959. There was no elevator for the general public in the Academy until 1990! For more information on the Academy of Music, visit


T H E AT E R A N ATO M Y Opera Singers must act on stage as well as sing! This means that they have to understand the stage set-up. When the director is rehearsing with the singers, he or she must be clear about where they should be on stage. Otherwise there could be a big traffic jam! So, special vocabulary is used. Up stage is the very back of the stage (away from the audience) and down stage is at the front (near the audience). Stage Left and Stage Right may seem to be on the wrong sides as well. Can you figure out why? You might also wonder about “up” stage and “down” stage. Opera sets are frequently built on a platform or “deck” that’s lower in the front near the apron and higher in the back near the back stage area. Thus, the lower end is “down stage” and the higher end is “up stage”. Also, when you visit the Academy of Music, look for the bas-relief portrait of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at the top of the proscenium.












Diagram from OPER A America’s MUSIC! WORDS! OPER A! Level II Teacher’s Manual ©1991, OPER A America Inc.





Act - main sections of a play or opera Aria - a solo song sung in an opera Audience - people who watch a performance and sit in the “house� or auditorium Ballet - dance set to music within in an opera Blocking - action on stage Character - person who is part of the opera’s story Chorus - music composed for a group of singers or the name of a group of singers in an opera Conductor - person who rehearses and leads the orchestra Duet - a song performed by 2 singers Orchestra - a group of musicians who play together on various musical instruments Overture - a piece of instrumental music played at the beginning of an opera Program - booklet that contains information about the opera, composer, performers, the opera company, and includes advertisements Recitative - words that are sung in the rhythm of natural speech - a bit like the 18th century version of rap Rehearsal - time when singers/actors practice with or without the orchestra; time when musicians practice together with the conductor Scene - segments of action within the acts of an opera T Y P E S O F S I N G E R S: Soprano - highest pitched female voice Mezzo-soprano - female voice between soprano and contralto Contralto - lowest pitched female voice Tenor - highest pitched male voice Baritone - male voice between tenor and bass Bass - lowest pitched male voice



1. Opera Seria

A. Dance spectacle set to music

2. Baritone

B. Highest pitched woman’s voice

3. Opera

C. Dramatic text adapted for opera

4. Ballet

D. Low female voice

5. Orchestra

E. Comic opera

6. Libretto

F. A drama or comedy in which music is the essential Factor; very little is spoken

7. Duet 8. Aria 9. Soprano 10. Chorus

G. Opera with dramatic and intense plots H. Music composed for a singing group I. A composition written for two performers

11. Act

J. A group of musicians who play together on various musical instruments

12. Contralto

K. Highest pitched man’s voice

13. Tenor 14. Opera Buffa

L. A musical style used in opera and oratorio, in which the text is declaimed in the rhythm of natural speech with slight melodic variation

15. Recitative

M. Male voice between bass and tenor

16. Bass

N. A piece of music originally designed to be played before an opera or musical play

17. Overture 18. Verismo

O. The term describing the realistic or naturalistic school of opera that flourished briefly in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; libretti were chosen to depict a ‘slice of life’ P. Deepest male voice Q. Elaborate solo in an opera or oratorio R. Main division of a play or opera


THE THEN AND NOW OF: OPERA Have you ever wondered where opera got its start? Back in the late 1500s during the height of the Renaissance (14001600), a group of men called the Florentine Camerata got together to create a new and moving theatrical experience. They wanted to recreate what the ancient Greeks did during their legendary dramas. The result was something entirely new – opera! Most of the early operas were based on Greek myths. The first opera that we know of was called Dafne by Jacopo Peri in 1598, but the most famous opera of this early period that is still performed today is Claudio Monteverdi’s Orfeo (1607). Certain basic ingredients were included in opera: songs, instrumental accompaniments, costumes, dance, and scenery. We still use all of these ingredients today! The early operas were first performed in the grand courts of Italian nobility, but soon opera became popular with the public, too. As it became all the rage, productions became more lavish! Soon, theaters began to be built just to mount operas. These theaters had elaborate stage machinery to create special effects like flying actors or crumbling buildings. Not everyone embraced the new form of theater. Some critics thought that all of the stage antics in opera detracted from the music and drama. Some people even believed that seeing too much comedy in opera could make you immoral!

Photo by Scott Suchman, Washington National Opera

During the Baroque period (1600 - 1750), Italian opera spread all over Europe. The Italian style of opera was so popular that even non-Italians wrote in this style. For example Georg Frederic Handel (1685 – 1759) was a German-born composer who lived and worked in England. His operas, like Julius Caesar (1724), were written in the Italian language and used an Italian style of music. The only nation to create its’ own national operatic style was

France. Ballet played a large role in the French culture, and operas often included ballets in the middle of the opera. The most famous French Baroque opera composers were Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687) and Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683 - 1764). The eighteenth century was full of change for both Europe and opera. This time period was known as the Age of Enlightenment. People were starting to talk about new forms of government and organization in society, especially the ever-growing middle class. Music displayed this new thinking as composers dropped the Baroque era’s complicated musical style for simpler, more emotional music. In less-flashy music, characters could express their thoughts and feelings more believably. One of the first operas to use this new style was Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice (1762). In 1776 the American Revolution changed the world. A few years later the French had their own revolution (1789) and the first modern democracies were born. To match the times in which they were created, audiences wanted to see characters like themselves on stage, not gods and goddesses. They also wanted to see issues that were important to them. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro (1786) featured a timely story of aristocratic class struggles that had both servants and nobility in lead roles. The ideals of the Enlightenment also came to the stage in Ludwig van Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, a story about equality and freedom. In the 1800s opera continued to grow. The Italian tradition continued in the bel canto movement, which literally translates to “beautiful singing”. These operas asked performers to sing complicated groups of fast notes in the melodies. The most famous bel canto composers were Gioacchino Rossini (1792 –1868), Gaetano Donizetti (1797 – 1848), and Vincenzo Bellini (1801 –1835). Their operas, like Rossini’s popular comedies The Barber of Seville (1816) and Cinderella (1817), are still some of the most popular operas performed today. By the middle of the century, the Romantic Movement led many composers to champion their own national identities. As a result, operas in languages other than Italian became more common; new works often reflected pride in a country’s people, history, and folklore. German operas like Carl Maria von Weber’s Der Freischütz (1821), Russian operas like Mikhail Glinka’s A Life for the Tsar (1836) and French operas like Giacomo Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots (1836) started to be performed across


Opera in twentieth century became even more experimental. Composers like Giacomo Puccini (La bohème, 1896), Claude Debussy (Pelléas et Mélisande, 1902), Richard Strauss (Salome, 1905), and Benjamin Britten (Peter Grimes, 1945) evolved their national styles. Others, horrified by the destruction of World War I (1914-1919) and other aspects of modern life, created music that was new and drastically dissonant. These operas often explored either dark psychological topics (Wozzeck by Alban Berg, 1925), or simple and absurd (The Rake’s Progress by Igor Stravinsky, 1951). American opera had a huge hit with George and Ira Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (1935) which included jazz and blues musical styles. Not only did American composers embrace popular music in opera but also a repetitive, hypnotic style called minimalism. American composer Philip Glass’s Einstein on the Beach (1976) is the popular example of minimalism in opera. Today, opera is still growing and expanding. Opera Philadelphia helps to shape the future of opera by producing important new works like Argentinian born composer Osvaldo Golijov’s flamenco-inspired Ainadamar (2003 & 2014), Hans Werner Henze’s Phaedra (2007), which interprets Greek mythology through the eyes of a World War II survivor, and Nico Muhly’s Dark Sisters (2011) which explores the lives of the women in a polygamist community. Most recently, Opera Philadelphia co-produced an opera based on the World War I Christmas Truce called Silent Night (2012), by Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell. Upcoming commissions include Theo Morrison’s Oscar Wilde opera called Oscar (2015) and Philadelphia composer Jennifer Higdon’s Civil War opera, Cold Mountain (2016), which is based on the Charles Frazier’s book of the same name. Although opera is one of the oldest musical art forms, it still remains and expands today. From old favorites to new experimental works, opera continues to be a moving art form of the people.

Photo by Kelly and Massa


Photo by Kelly and Massa

Europe. By using nationalism in his operas like Nabucco (1842), Italian Giuseppe Verdi became a national hero. In Germany Richard Wagner took Romanticism to the extreme in a four-part operatic miniseries based on Norse mythology, The Ring of the Nibelung (1876), which takes over 15 hours to perform! The operatic stereotype of the singer in the Viking helmet comes from these operas.

above: Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell ’s new American opera, Silent Night below: Up-and-coming soprano Michelle Johnson as Puccini’s Manon Lescaut left: Verdi’s patriotic Nabucco

reading C O M P R E H E N S I O N

1. During the Renaissance, on what were many of the first operas based? 2. What kind of opera spread all over Europe during the Baroque period? Give one example of this kind of opera. 3. What artistic genre played a huge role in French opera during the Baroque period? 4. How did the Enlightenment movement during the 18th century change how composers wrote operas? 5. What new operatic qualities did Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro display due to the American Revolution and its effect in the world? 6. Describe “bel canto” opera and give one example of a composer who used this style. 7. Nationalism was a prominent feature in the operatic world in the 1800s. Give an example of a composer who strayed from the Italian operatic form to write nationalistic operas. 8. What other musical styles did the American opera Porgy and Bess include? 9. Name three new operas that Opera Philadelphia has or will produce.

GIUSEPPE VERDI: H E R O O F I T A LY What is your passion in life? What would you want to do all day every day? Well, for Verdi it was to play piano and write music. And as with all passions, he was not immune from hard work and failure but because of his perseverance, modern opera benefits greatly from Verdi’s great musical gift. Giuseppe Verdi was born in 1813 and his love of music was noticeable from the start. One of his greatest joys was listening to the organ in the old church just a few steps from his home. Verdi begged his father for piano lessons and finally got his way at the age of 8, when his father bought him an old spinet, a type of piano. Verdi’s father Carlo hoped his son would become a country band leader so he arranged for him to study under the church organist. Four years later, when he was 12, young Verdi became the church organist when his teacher took another post. Can you imagine playing organ for a church at the age of 12? Soon afterwards, Carlo Verdi recognized his son’s gift and arranged for him to study in the nearby town of Busseto. Carlo’s friend, Antonio Barezzi, who was a successful shopkeeper and amateur musician, let the young Verdi stay in his home in Busseto. It was here that Giuseppe met music school director, Bartolomeo Merelli, who put him to work copying the orchestral parts of the scores of famous composers Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) and Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868). Verdi became so knowledgeable of older composers’s works that the school director allowed him to take the podium to conduct the local orchestra. His patron, Barezzi, was so impressed with Verdi’s gifts that he helped arrange for Verdi to receive a scholarship to continue his studies in Milan. However, Verdi was now over 18, and the judges thought he was too old for the school and didn’t care for his simple country dress. He wasn’t accepted into the school. The director of the legendary La Scala opera company encouraged him to study under Maestro Vincenzo Lavigna 1776-1836). Under his new teacher’s tutelage, Verdi studied the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) and Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827). At twenty-one, Verdi was attending a rehearsal of Haydn’s choral work Creation when the conductor became ill. Verdi was asked to continue to conduct the rest of the rehearsal. He sat at the piano and played with one hand while conducting with the other, a great feat! The musicians were so impressed with his talent that he was invited to conduct the performances in Milan. This success launched his career. On May 4, 1836, Verdi married his patron’s daughter, Margherita Barezzi (1814-1840). On November 17, 1839, his first opera, Oberto, premiered at La Scala and was a moderate success. The next few years, however, were


times of deep sadness. Verdi’s two children died before either reached the age of three, and then his wife Margherita died in June 1840, a few months after the second child. Verdi returned to Milan to compose a comic opera which he agreed to write before his wife died. The opera was a complete failure, partially because Verdi’s extreme grief made it hard to write a comedy. Depressed and finding it hard to concentrate on work, Verdi was struggling to live. He could only afford to eat one meal a day. One day, while leaving a tavern, he bumped into Bartolomeo Merelli, the opera house director who had supported Verdi’s earlier work. He asked Verdi to compose another opera. From this accidental meeting, the great opera Nabucco was born. The opera premiered on March 9, 1842 in La Scala. It was a huge success and Verdi was an overnight sensation. Over the years, Verdi composed masterpiece after masterpiece. Some of his operas had a political nature and the government was always checking his work for anything they disagreed with. Verdi believed in republican ideals, which were different from the Italian government’s views, and thought of George Washington as his personal hero. The song “Va, pensiero” (Go Thought) from Nabucco became the revolutionary hymn of Italy while they fought to gain their independence from Austria. It still inspires us today. Verdi always remembered and loved his simple country heritage and those less fortunate than himself. Verdi was more than an artist, he embodied the heart and soul of Italy and Italy loved him!


1. How did Verdi’s father know that his son had a musical gift? 2. How did a conducting job launch Verdi’s career? 3. Whom did Verdi have an accidental meeting with that resulted in him composing Nabucco? 4. Who was Verdi’s personal hero?

I TA L Y U N I T E S W I T H V. E . R . D . I . Giuseppe Verdi’s opera, Nabucco, debuted at a time in Italy’s history when audiences could relate to the theme in the opera: the uprising of the Hebrews against the Babylonians. The Italians were fighting for their independence from the rule of multiple Europe countries and were looking again to become a united nation. Verdi and his opera played an important role in uniting the country. Opera Philadelphia’s production of Nabucco strives to recreate the atmosphere of the first performances in Italy as 19th century opera-goers join the modern day audience. Verdi was born in Le Roncole, a small village in what is now northern Italy, in 1813. At the time, it was under Napoleonic rule and his birth certificate was written in French. He died in Milan in a unified Italy in 1901. The Risorgimento (the Resurgence) is the period of the liberation and political unification movement in Italy, which lasted from about 1750 until 1870. In 1796, Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) and his French forces ended Austria’s control in Italy and divided the peninsula into three main parts. Napoleon carved out his own personal “kingdom of Italy” from much of northern and central Italy, turning it into a colony of the French empire. Napoleon fell from power in 1815 and his conquerors (Britain, Prussia, Russia and Austria) divided Italy into little states, each of which was under a different country’s control. Piedmont, the most independent Italian state, would play a strategic role in the relationship between Austria and France, and leading the efforts to unify Italy. Britain, Prussia, Russia and Austria wanted to restore Europe to the way it was before Napoleon came into power. They rejected the Enlightenment ideals of liberty, fraternity, and equality, and instead reinstated the Restoration ideals of absolutism, tradition, and authority, which suppressed all revolutionary movements. The Restoration came at a time of economic depression, food shortages and high unemployment in Italy. The revolutionary Giuseppe Mazzini (1805-1872), realized that in order for Italy to become a republic, they had to bridge the gaps of the lower class and the intellectuals who were a part of the Enlightenment. As inspiring as his ideas were, Mazzini was not a military strategist. This role was filled by Count Camilio Cavour (1810-1861) and Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882). Cavour is generally regarded as the chief political architect of Italian unification, while Garibaldi’s successes on the battlefield earned him a high regard in Italian military records. Working separately, they carried out the political and military work which led to a unified Italy. Piedmont, also known as the kingdom of Sardinia,


was the only Italian state with a free press, an elected parliament, and a liberal constitution. Under the leadership of Cavour, Piedmont initiated diplomatic negotiations with the French which led to a series of Austrian defeats on the battlefield. To motivate the country to unite, the people of Italy claimed that a man named Victor Emmanuel II was the new king to unite the country. The letters of the name of the composer of Nabucco, VERDI, just happened to match the letters of the revolutionary cry, Viva VERDI or Victor Emmanuel Re d’Italia (Victor Emmanuel, king of Italy). So, Verdi became a national hero and Nabucco’s chorus “Va, pensiero” became the revolutionary song. It wasn’t until 1861 that Italy became a republic. In May 1860, Garibaldi and a thousand volunteers (all wearing red shirts) sailed from Genoa, landed in Sicily, and claimed the island in the name of Victor Emmanuel. In September, moving to the mainland, Garibaldi entered and claimed Naples. His forces merged with the army of Victor Emmanuel, but his intention of taking Rome had to be postponed. Cavour then summoned Italy’s first national parliament. On March 17, 1861, Victor Emmanuel, the king of Piedmont, was proclaimed the new king of Italy. Verdi was elected to the first Italian parliament for the Liberal party. In 1866, Austria gave up Venice and in 1870 the Republic of Italy was born with Rome as its capital. Italy was finally united and free.


1. Why did the Italian people in the 19th Century relate to Verdi’s Nabucco so intensely? 2. Who was defeated in order for the Restoration to begin and the separation of Italy to end? 3. What does Risorgimento mean? 4. Which ideals went against the ideals of the Restoration? 5. What three leaders led the revolt in Italy? Which leader ultimately led the revolt for Italy’s unification?

T he L ife and T I mes of G iuseppe V erdi

Below is a list of important historical events both in Verdi’s life and throughout the world. The items in boldface type are things that happened to Verdi and items with a arrow ( ) have local significance. All other items are historic or cultural events.

Discuss what it might have been like to be alive during the time period and how your life might be different. How did the inventions of the time affect daily life?

For more activities, including creating your own time line, visit page 41 for some ideas!


iuseppe Verdi was born on October 10 in Le Roncole, a small village near Busseto, Italy, first son of G Carlo and Luigia.

1816 The first savings bank in the United States opened in Philadelphia. 1817 Former slave and renowned abolitionist Frederick Douglass (d.1895) was born. 1830 Mary Had a Little Lamb was first published by Sarah Josepha Hale in the anthology “Poems for Our Children.” 1832 Verdi traveled to Milan to attend Conservatory but was not accepted; he began to study independently. 1836 Verdi married Margherita Barezzi, the daughter of his benefactor. 1839 Verdi met famous singer Giuseppina Strepponi in Milan, Italy.

First recorded use of “OK” [oll korrect] in Boston’s Morning Post.


Verdi’s wife Margherita died shortly after the death of his two small children.


March 9, triumph debut of Nabucco at La Scala.

1845 Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven” was first published. 1847

The first doughnut with a hole in it was created.

1848 Verdi bought the Sant’Agata estate near Busseto, a vast property rich in woods, vineyards and water, which became his refuge, source of inspiration. 1849 California’s Gold Rush began. 1850 Th e first women’s medical school, the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, opened. 1851

Verdi’s mother died.

1852 He composed some of his most successful operas including -62 R igoletto, Il trovatore, La traviata, and A Masked Ball.

The Edgar Allan Poe National Historical Site in Philadelphia is where the short story master and poet wrote such classics as “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “To Helen.”

1853 Levi Strauss began selling tough pants to California gold miners for $13.50 a dozen.

1859 Verdi married soprano Giuseppina Strepponi.


Photo by B. Krist for GPTMC

1857 Philadelphia’s Academy of Music opens with a concert conducted by Tchaikovsky.


Verdi elected to Parliament under the Liberal Party and Italy unites as a republic.


American Civil War began. It ended in 1865.

1862 First United States paper money was issued in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $500, and $1,000. 1865 The 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolishes slavery throughout the United States. 1869 Charles Elmer Hires sold his first root beer in Philadelphia. 1870 The first section of the famous boardwalk in Atlantic City, N.J., opened to the public. 1871 Verdi’s opera Aida premiered triumphantly in Cairo, Egypt. 1872 The Republican National Convention, the first major political party convention to include African Americans, was held in Philadelphia’s Academy of Music. 1874 The first United States zoo opened in Philadelphia. 1876 Alexander Graham Bell made the first telephone call. 1877 The first department store opened in Philadelphia by John Wanamaker. 1878

United States Supreme court ruled that race separation on trains was unconstitutional.

1880 Rodin created his sculpture The Thinker, a version of which can be found in Philadelphia at the Rodin Museum. 1881 The Tuskegee Institute was founded in Alabama by former slave Booker T. Washington. 1882 The first string of Christmas tree lights was created by Thomas Edison. 1884 America’s first roller coaster began operating at Coney Island, NYC. It hit a top speed of 6 mph. 1887 Verdi’s opera Otello, based on the play by Shakespeare, premiered at La Scala. 1892

unday school teacher Lizzie Borden, accused of killing her father and stepmother with an ax in Fall River, S Mass, was acquitted of the murders by an all-male jury.

1892 The American Pledge of Allegiance was first recited in public schools to commemorate Columbus Day. 1893

erdi’s Falstaff was presented at Milan’s La Scala theater. V Philadelphia observed the first Flag Day. The Ferris Wheel is introduced at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago by George Ferris. The San Andreas Fault in California was detected.

1894 Milton Hershey (1857-1945) founded Hershey Foods in Pennsylvania. 1895 Frederick E. Blaisdell patented the pencil. 1896 Th e United States Supreme Court ruled 7 to 1 to give states the authority to segregate people racially. 1897 Verdi’s second wife Giuseppina Strepponi died on Nov. 14. World renowned singer and civil rights pioneer Marian Anderson was born in Philadelphia. 1898 Paul Robeson (d.1976), athlete, actor, and singer, was born in Princeton, NJ. The first amusement pier opened in Atlantic City, NJ.


Photo Marian Anderson Collection of Photographs,1898-199, Ms. Coll. 198

1901 The first annual Mummers parade was held in Philadelphia. Verdi died at the Grand Hotel in Milan, Italy, at age 87, after spending Christmas with his dearest friends.

A 1934 black & white photograph of Marian Anderson, taken in Stockholm, Sweden by Moise Benkow. It is one of the thousands of images in the University of Pennsylvania’s Library and was the inspiration for the U.S. postage stamp honoring the famous Philadelphian contralto. To see the stamp, visit

NABUCCO: A KIN G’S S TORY Our leaders of the world today don’t include very many kings, especially one that was deemed “a servant of the Lord” by a famous biblical prophet. Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Nabucco is based on the biblical king Nebuchadnezzar II (605-562 BC), whose story is told primarily in the Old Testament Books of Jeremiah and Daniel. The story of Nabucco begins as the Hebrews are revolting against Nebuchadnezzar in 587 BC. The name Nebuchadnezzar (NE-boo-ked-NEZ-zer) translates variously as “Oh Nabu, preserve my heir.” When he ascended the throne of Babylon, he was hailed by the prophet Jeremiah as the Servant of the Lord. Assyria was the dominant power controlling Babylonia until around 625 BC when Nabopolassar, Nebuchadnezzar’s father, ascended the throne in Babylon and began pushing the Assyrians out of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar II was of age by about 610-612 BC and was helping his father with his conquests. In 612 BC the Babylonians ended the Assyrian empire. After defeating Carchemish in Egypt and the pharaoh Necho, Nebuchadnezzar returned to Babylon on news of his father’s death and became king. He then captured Jerusalem in 597 BC and deposed King Jehoiachin, replacing him with a vessel king. Then in 587 BC due to rebellion of the Hebrews, Nebuchadnezzar destroyed both the city and the temple in Jerusalem, and deported many of the prominent citizens along with a sizable portion of the Jewish population of Judea to Babylon.

English poet and artist William Blake’s 1795 portrait of King Nebuchadnezzar’s supposed animalistic insanity, which afflicted the king for seven years.

Nebuchadnezzar II was known as a great builder. During the reign of Nebuchadnezzar’s father, Babylon was destroyed, and after the king restored his power over central Asia, he continued his father’s work to rebuild and restore Babylon to one of the world wonders. He built a royal palace, the fabled Hanging Gardens of Babylon, a stone bridge across the Euphrates river, and made the city impenetrable with a triple line of walls. For all this construction, he used his captives as laborers in addition to his own people whom he required to do “labor duty”. Nebuchadnezzar was also biblical figure, mostly mentioned in the book of Daniel, however not historically accurate. Daniel chapter 4 contains an account of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream about an immense tree, which Daniel interprets to mean that Nebuchadnezzar will go insane for seven years because of his pride. The chapter is written from the perspective of King Nebuchadnezzar. According to the bible, while boasting about his achievements, Nebuchadnezzar is humbled by God. The king loses his sanity and lives in the wild like an animal for seven years. After this, his sanity and position are restored and he praises and honors God. Some consider the insanity to be an attack of clinical lycanthropy (a rare psychiatric syndrome that involves a delusion that the affected person can transform into, has transformed into, or is a nonhuman animal, usually a wolf or lion) or alternatively porphyria (a disease with neurological complications or skin problems or occasionally both). Psychologist Henry Gleitman has claimed that Nebuchadnezzar’s insanity was a form of dementia seen in advanced cases of syphilis. The story of the Nebuchadnezzar’s insanity in the bible could also be confused with a historical account in the Dead Sea Scrolls of the last Babylonian king, Nabonidus, who journeyed into the desert for seven years and was smitten by God with a fever. Saddam Hussein, the late dictator of Iraq (modern Babylon) considered himself to be the reincarnation of Nebuchadnezzar and had the inscription “To King Nebuchadnezzar in the reign of Saddam Hussein” inscribed on bricks inserted into the walls of the ancient city of Babylon during a reconstruction project he initiated. (see Iraq: A Modern Babylon on page 29)


THE MYTHICAL AND WONDROUS H A N G I N G GA R D E N S O F BA BY LO N The Hanging Gardens of Babylon: one of Seven Wonders of the Ancient World…built by a Syrian king to please one of his concubines…purely legendary…no Babylonian texts mention the gardens…no definitive archaeological evidence has been found in Babylon... One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, as it is referred to, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon have never been seen by the modern world. There is much controversy over who built them, where they were built and if they even exist. The king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar II, has been given credit to the construction of the gardens, for his Median wife, Amyitis. The land she came from was green, rugged and mountainous, and she found the flat, sun-baked terrain of Mesopotamia depressing. The king decided to relieve her depression by recreating her homeland through the building of an artificial mountain with rooftop gardens. Most of the sources we have to support the existence of the gardens were from Greek sources about 200 years after their construction, not Babylonian cuneiform sources, which is why it is still a mystery. The first to mention the gardens was Berossus, a Babylonian priest of Marduk, around 290 BC. There is some controversy as to whether the Hanging Gardens were an actual construction or a poetic creation due to the lack of written sources from Babylonia. There is also little evidence as to whether or not Nebuchadnezzar II had a wife at all. Also, no archeological evidence has been found to support the existence of the Hanging Gardens, however there is speculation that the remains may be hidden under the Euphrates River.

There is speculation that the Assyrian king Sennacherib did construct a hanging garden in his capital city of Nineveh, which was a “Babylon”. The name “Babylon”, meaning “Gate of the Gods”, was applied to several Mesopotamian cities. Sennacherib renamed the city gates of Nineveh after gods, which suggests that he wished his city to be considered “a Babylon”. Ultimately, scholars believe that the Gardens did exist and that their construction is attributed to Nebuchadnezzar II.

AC T I V E L E A R N I N G The Greek geographer Strabo, who described the gardens in first century BC, wrote, “It consists of vaulted terraces raised one above another, and resting upon cube-shaped pillars. These are hollow and filled with earth to allow trees of the largest size to be planted. The pillars, the vaults, and terraces are constructed of baked brick and asphalt. The ascent to the highest story is by stairs, and at their side are water engines, by means of which persons, appointed expressly for the purpose, are continually employed in raising water from the Euphrates into the garden.” Also, Babylon rarely received rain and for the garden to survive, it would have had to been irrigated by using water from the nearby Euphrates River. That meant lifting the water far into the air so it could flow down through the terraces, watering the plants at each level. This was an immense task given the lack

A 16th century hand-colored engraving of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon by Dutch artist Maarten van Heemskerck, with the Tower of Babel in the background

of modern engines and pressure pumps in the fifth century B.C. One of the solutions the designers of the garden may have used to move the water, however, was a “chain pump.” 1. Research more written accounts of the Hanging Gardens and draw your own rendering of the gardens based on this description and any that you may find. 2. Do you think one of our modern constructs would be lost without physical evidence or would our written history and man-made materials still be there for people to find in 2000 years? 3. What is a chain pump? How are they different from screw pumps? How would we as a modern society solve the problem of a lack of water in a garden?


NABUCCO: SYNOPSIS Nabucco is an abbreviation of Nabucodonosor, or Nebuchadnezzar (605–562 BC), the king of Assyria who is remembered for the rebuilding of Babylon – and the creation of one of the wonders of the ancient world, its famous Hanging Gardens – as well as for the destruction of Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. Inspired by historical events recounted in the Bible and the philosophy espoused by the prophet Jeremiah, librettist Temistocle Solera based his text on them, including relevant Scriptural quotations to preface each act. The personal love story and surrounding intrigue are depicted by fictional characters, lending a human dimension to the larger geopolitical forces in play. At the time of the opera’s premiere, the whole of northern Italy was suffering under an increasingly unbearable Austrian domination. Insinuating that the plight of the Israelites under oppression by the Babylonians was comparable to that of the Milanese, Verdi amplified the call for Risorgimento, literally a “resurgence” of the people’s will to achieve Italian unification. In the years following the opera’s premiere, the contemporary relevance of the ancient themes of foreign oppression only intensified.

Par t One – Jerusalem Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel; Go and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah, and tell him, Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire. Jeremiah 34:2

The Temple of Solomon – 587 BC. Seeking refuge in the Temple of Solomon, the Israelites are mustering their strength to resist the fearsome Nabucco (Nebuchadnezzar), king of Assyria, who has attacked and is desecrating the city. Amidst the chaos, Zaccaria, the Israelites’ spiritual leader, hurriedly seeks shelter from the warfare along with his sister, Anna. In an effort to negotiate an end to the siege, Zaccaria’s forces have kidnapped Nabucco’s younger daughter, Fenena, and now hold her hostage. He implores his people to be resolute in their defiance of the occupying armies. Ismaele, nephew of the king of Jerusalem and an Israelite military leader, breathlessly recounts the horrors of the street combat that is swiftly approaching their stronghold in the Temple. Zaccaria believes his hostage will prove a powerful negotiation tool with his enemy; he hands custody of Fenena over to Ismaele, as the Hebrews bravely face the turmoil of the battle outside the sanctuary of the Temple walls. It is soon evident that Ismaele and Fenena are not strangers but rather former lovers, having met while Ismaele was in Babylon on a failed diplomatic mission. Their romantic reunion is interrupted when Abigaille, Fenena’s older sister, infiltrates the temple. She scornfully turns on Ismaele as a warrior weakened by love. She then confesses her own love for him, and implies that she has the power to call a truce, if only he will return her affection. Unable to deny his devotion to Fenena, he offers to forfeit his life


for his people. Hebrew refugees and wounded warriors are driven back into the Temple, fearing for their lives as the Assyrian forces overpower them. When Nabucco appears, taking possession of their most sacred stronghold, Zaccaria condemns his arrogance and threatens to slay Fenena, but Ismaele prevents her brutal execution. As the Jews turn on Ismaele for his treachery, Nabucco orders the temple sacked and burned, and declares to his troops that it shall be a crime to show any mercy to the Hebrews.

Pa r t Two – T h e Un b e l i eve r Behold, the whirlwind of the Lord goeth forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind: it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked. Jeremiah 30:23

Several months later. Nabucco’s palace in Babylon Nabucco has left the palace to wage another war, leaving Fenena in charge as regent queen in his absence, infuriating Abigaille who believes that she, as the elder daughter, should have that right. Confirming her growing suspicion, she has found an official document proving that she is not Nabucco’s daughter but rather the child of slaves with no line of rightful succession to the throne. Angry and hurt at Nabucco’s deception, she swears vengeance on him and Fenena, mindful that her devotion to Ismaele could have changed everything for the better had he only returned her affection. The corrupt High Priest of Baal interrupts her musings to announce that Fenena, in a gesture of humanity and good will, has liberated the captive Israelites. To punish what they regard as Fenena’s treason, the priests have hastily arranged Abigaille’s ascension to the throne, falsely announcing that Nabucco has been slain in battle. Abigaille feels she is vindicated and that fate has now restored to her the honor she deserves.

A gallery in Nabucco’s Palace

The banks of the Euphrates River

Zaccaria, aware of the menace and danger that his people are in, prays that his faith will give him the resolve to continue fighting. He believes he may prevail in the conflict by converting Fenena, who has shown compassion for the Hebrews’ plight. The Levites reproach Ismaele for his seeming treason, but Zaccaria reassures them that Ismaele has not betrayed them, since Fenena herself, in an act of conversion, has vowed to be faithful to the God of Israel. Abdallo, a Babylonian guard, rushes in with the false report of the king’s death, warning Fenena that she is now in danger.

Taking a moment of respite from their forced labor along the banks of the river, the Hebrew exiles bid their plaintive thoughts to fly “on golden wings” toward their beloved homeland. Zaccaria urges them not to despair, but to use the power of their anger to break the chains of their captivity and to strike their oppressors in brutal retaliation.

A Hall in the Palace The High Priest of Baal, followed by Abigaille and her supporters, enters to proclaim Abigaille ruler; her first act as queen shall be to condemn the Hebrews to death. When Abigaille demands the royal crown that Nabucco has entrusted to Fenena, the girl refuses to yield it. To the astonishment of all, Nabucco–very much alive, if mentally unstable–suddenly appears, seizes the crown and places it on his own head. Everyone cowers before the tyrant’s rage, but sensing that his power is slipping away, he brazenly announces that he is not only their king, but their God as well. As he commands them to prostrate themselves before him, his insanity becomes apparent to all. Abigaille seizes the moment of personal and political turmoil to usurp the crown from the deranged king.

Par t Three – The Prophecy Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wild beasts of the islands shall dwell there, and the owls shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited for ever; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation. Jeremiah 50:39

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon Abigaille, in collusion with the religious leaders, exults in the praise of her subjects. In an effort to suppress any further insurrection, the High Priest of Baal exhorts her to put the Hebrews to death. Nabucco, having descended further into madness, arrives to see his throne now occupied by his illegitimate daughter. Taking advantage of his confusion, she persuades him to give his approval to the death decree against the Hebrews. He wavers, but her venomous taunts soon convince him. When he asks what has become of Fenena, Abigaille replies that she has converted to the Jewish faith and will therefore be executed with the others. Horrified by Abigaille’s intentions, he searches for the parchment that would reveal that she has no right to the throne. She produces and then quickly destroys the evidence. He cries out for his guards to assist him, but they are no longer loyal to him. As he begs Abigaille to show clemency for Fenena, the guards, following Abigaille’s orders, lead him off to prison.


Part Four – The Shattered Idol Declare ye among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish,and conceal not: say, Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces; her idols are confounded, her images are broken in pieces. Jeremiah 50:2

A prison cell Wracked with guilt and suffering from a worsening derangement, Nabucco is uncertain whether he is awake or trapped in a nightmare. He imagines Fenena being led away to the death to which he has doomed her. Losing the last shred of his faith, he prays the God of the Hebrews for forgiveness, pledging to convert his people. Attempting to intervene on his daughter’s behalf, he realizes that he is indeed a prisoner and powerless to help her. Though believing that he has been rescued by Abdallo and that his army is once again loyal to him, he sees the death decree being carried out before him. He hears Zaccaria hail Fenena as a martyr to the cause of the Israelites as she resigns herself to death. The distraught Nabucco renounces Baal and, as a sign of his conversion, orders the god’s idol to be destroyed. His senses failing him once again, he wonders if he sees Abigaille approaching. Having poisoned herself in horror at what her ambition has brought upon her kingdom, Abigaille confesses her crimes, hoping that it is not too late for Ismaele and Fenena to be reunited. Slipping in and out of consciousness, she prays to Jehovah for pardon as the Hebrews reaffirm that their God will always raise up those who are afflicted. – synopsis by Thaddeus Strassberger, director Costume Designer Mattie Ullrich’s sketches for stagehands,

Babylonian women, Abigaille, and Nabucco.



Ancient Babylonia, in the Mesopotamia region, was located between two great rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates. Mesopotamia

Sebastian Catana is quickly becoming

is called the “cradle of civilization” because they


created the first written laws, the first language, and the concept of the city. Today, we call this

Saddam Hussein






companies around the world. He has played the title role of Nabucco several

area between the two rivers Iraq. The ruins of Babylonia are housed


here and Iraq’s late dictator, Saddam Hussein, was determined

Zealand, Switzerland, and Palm Beach,

to rebuild Babylon and carry on the legacy of King Nebuchad-

Florida, and is now coming to grace





nezzar. He went as far as to claim that he was the reincarnation

the Opera Philadelphia stage with a debut performance. He

of Nebuchadnezzar, and had the bricks used to rebuild the city

made his operatic debut as Thore in Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots

inscribed with “This was built by Saddam Hussein, son of Nebu-

at Carnegie Hall in 2001 and his Met debut as Shaunard in

chadnezzar, to glorify Iraq”. Starting in 1983, Hussein began re-

Puccini’s La bohème in 2003. Sebastian is well known for the

building the city on top of the ruins of Babylon, against the advice

many roles he performs from the operas of Giuseppe Verdi like

of the archaeologists. He also installed a huge portrait of himself

the title role in Macbeth, Germont (La traviata), Iago (Otello), Ezio

and Nebuchadnezzar at the entrance to the ruins, and reinforced

(Attila), Don Carlo (Ernani), Posa (Don Carlo), Miller (Luisa Miller),

Processional Way, a large boulevard of ancient stones, and the

and more.

Lion of Babylon, a black rock sculpture about 2,600 years old. The bricks that were used to rebuild the structures began to crack only 10 years later. After the Gulf War, Hussein built his palace on

Csilla Boross, a native Hungarian, is

top of the ruins in the pyramid style of a Sumerian ziggurat, called

not a stranger to the demanding role of

Saddam Hill. The dictator never used this palace and when the

Abigaille. In fact, her USA debut was

invasion of Iraq began in 2003, he halted all construction. When

playing this role in Palm Beach Opera’s

Saddam was captured in 2006, he was said to look like Nebu-

production of Nabucco, along with

chadnezzar at his downfall from the biblical story: a wild animal in

baritone Sebastian Catana. Beginning

a hole, grimy and disheveled.

her musical studies as a pianist, it was not until after she acquired a degree in piano performance, did she realize that she wanted to sing. Ultimately, Boross went to the Liszt Ferenc School of Music Pedagogy Institute and attained degrees as a chamber artist, as a singing teacher, and as a pianist. Abigaille is acclaimed as an incredibly taxing role due to her larger vocal and emotion range and Boross has played her on numerous occasions. Some of the other roles for which she’s famous include the title roles of Puccini’s Tosca and Verdi’s Aïda, Mimì in Puccini’s La bohème, and Lady Macbeth in Verdi’s Macbeth.


Morris Robinson, our Zaccaria, was





Brookfield, Wisconsin, sings the role of

player at The Citadel in South Carolina.

Anna in Nabucco. She is a graduate

He was even an All-American Performer! It wasn’t until someone heard him sing and suggested that he try classical

Photo by Ron Cadiz

a star athlete on the gridiron as a football

voice, did he ever focus on music as a

of Rice University and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.



wanted to be a music teacher, but once she was set on the path of performing,

career. He then went on to study at the Boston University Opera

she never turned back. The soprano won an Encouragement

Institute and the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artists

award in the Metropolitan Opera Auditions. She performed the

Development Program. He has performed with the Metropolitan

role of Susanna in Le nozze de Figaro at Opera Festival di Roma,

Opera on numerous occasions, in roles such as the King of Egypt

Zerbinetta in excerpts of Ariadne auf Naxos, and Nanetta in

(Aïda) a role he sang for his Opera Philadelphia debut in 2005,

Falstaff at the Aspen Music Festival. She premiered the role of

High Priest of Baal (Nabucco), Sarastro (The Magic Flute), and

Madeline in Kevin Puts’s Silent Night in 2012, a co-production

First Nazarene (Salome). Robinson is also known for his album of

between Opera Philadelphia and Minnesota Opera. She just

spirituals entitled Going Home, and for having played the role of

performed the role of Lucia in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor

Joe in Showboat at Washington National Opera.

this past summer.

Margaret Mezzacappa made her

makes his Opera Philadelphia debut in




Nabucco as the High Priest of Baal. He

Opera Philadelphia debut as Emilia in Verdi’s Otello in 2010 and she returns to

is currently in his third year of residency

the Academy of Music stage as Fenena

at the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts

in Nabucco this season. A graduate of

in Philadelphia. Mr. Ngqungwana hails

Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts, the

from Port Elizabeth, South Africa and

up-and-coming mezzo-soprano received a

received his B.M. in Performance and his Performer’s Diploma

bachelor’s degree from Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory

in Opera from University of Cape Town. He has won numerous

of Music and since 2008, the Ohio native has won numerous

competitions; most notably he was the National Winner of

awards, including the prestigious Metropolitan Opera National

Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2013. His

Council Auditions. At Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts, her

roles at AVA include Sam (Un ballo in maschera), Sancho (Don

roles have included Ulrica (Un ballo in maschera), Frugola (Il

Quichotte), Prince Gremin and Zaretsky (Eugene Onegin), Dr.

tabarro), La Principessa (Suor Angelica), Cuniza (Oberto), and

Bartolo (The Barber of Seville), Dulcamara (L’elisir d’amore), and

Mistress Quickly (Falstaff), among others.

the title role in Verdi’s Oberto.

Adam Diegel a Memphis man at heart,

stage after performances in Puccini’s

John Viscardi returns to the Academy Manon Lescaut in 2012. The New York

houses all around the world. He was a

native is a graduate of Academy of Vocal

national finalist for the 2003 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions after getting a degree in Philosophy and

Photo by Dario Acosta

has made a home for himself in opera

Arts in Philadelphia where he sang such roles as Count Almaviva (The Barber of Seville), Pelléas (Pelléas et Mélisande),

Theology from University of Memphis and

Fenton (Falstaff). He has received numerous prestigious awards

his formal music training from Yale University. His Metropolitan

recently from the Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal

Opera Debut was in 2010 in a production of Das Rheingold

Competition, the Leiderkranz Competition, the Lotte Lenya

as Froh. He has also performed in the Glimmerglass Festival

Competition, and the George London Foundation. Mr. Viscardi

in productions of Tosca and Carmen (Don José). Diegel has

holds his M.A. in Music Performance – Opera Concentration and

performed in other recent productions at the Guangzhou Opera

his B.M. in Vocal Performance from New York University.

House in China, the English National Opera in London, and with Opera Australia in Sydney.



WOR D BA N K Abigaille Academy Archaeology Aria Babylon


Boross Catana Cuneiform Daniel Duet

Euphrates Forte Hanging Gardens Idol Iraq

Italia Mesopotamia Nabucco Oberto Orchestra

Organ Restoration Risorgimento Robinson Soprano

Stage Strepponi Unification Zaccaria




Verdi started his musical career by taking lessons on


this musical instrument at the local church.

A platform on which an opera, play, etc. is performed for an audience.


An ancient city in Southwest Asia, on the Euphrates River, famed for its magnificence and culture.


The book in the bible that mentions Nebuchadnezzar.



The title of Verdi’s first opera.

The country where Babylonia is today.


4 The Babylonian daughter of Nabucco.

This acclaimed singer brings his deep bass voice to the role of Zaccaria in Nabucco.


Hungarian soprano Csilla ______ sings the role of


Abigaille in Nabucco.


The word for Nebuchadnezzar in Italian is _______.

8 The liberation and political unification movement in Italy,


A musical term which means to perform loudly.

beginning was called the Resurgence. What is the Italian word for Resurgence?


This area is often called the cradle of civilization.


You can see real artifacts from the Babylonian era at the Penn Museum of Anthropology and ___________.


One of the seven wonders of the Ancient World, built

by Nebuchadnezzar.


The highest female singing voice.


The Israelites’ spiritual leader in Nabucco.



One of the earliest known systems of writing was used by the Babylonians; it is called ______.


An operatic song for one voice.


This production of Nabucco is set in Italy in the mid1800s during the country’s struggle for this.


A river in Southwest Asia, flowing from East Turkey through Syria and Iraq.

A large body of people playing various musical instruments, including stringed and wind instruments.


Held the ideals of absolutism, tradition, and authority.


Verdi’s second wife and the first Abigaille.


The _______ of Music is the nation’s oldest grand opera house still be used for its original purpose.




An image or other material object representing a deity to which religious worship is addressed.

American baritone Sebastian _______ sings the title role of Nabucco in his Opera Philadelphia debut.

During the Risorgimento, Verdi’s name became a rallying cry acronym for Italy’s unification: `Viva VERDI!’ - Long Live Victor Emanuel, Re d’_________!


A song performed by 2 singers.


We learn about literary and dramatic terms every year at school. It seems like we learn a few new terms every year. We’ll define a few common terms below. Maybe you’re familiar with some of them, but some may be new to you. Review these terms with your teacher. Alliteration - the commencement of two or more words of a word group with the same letter, example: as in apt alliteration’s artful aid. Antagonist - the adversary of the hero or protagonist of a drama or other literary work: Iago is the antagonist of Othello. Aside- a part of an actor’s lines supposedly not heard by others on the stage and intended only for the audience; words spoken so as not to be heard by others present. Ethos - the moral element in dramatic literature that determines a character’s action rather than his or her thought or emotion. Foreshadowing - to show or indicate beforehand; prefigure. Imagery - figurative or descriptive language Irony - a technique of indicating, as through character or plot development, an intention or attitude opposite to that which is actually or ostensibly stated. Socratic irony - pretended ignorance in discussion. Dramatic irony - irony that is inherent in speeches or a situation of a drama and is understood by the audience but not grasped by the characters in the play. Metaphor - a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance, as in “A mighty fortress is our God.” Motif - a recurring subject, theme, idea, etc., especially in a literary, artistic, or musical work. Onomatopoeia - the formation of a word, as cuckoo, meow, honk, or boom, by imitation of a sound made by or associated with its referent. Pathos - the quality or power in an actual life experience or in literature, music, speech, or other forms of expression, of evoking a feeling of pity or compassion. Personification - the attribution of human nature or character to animals, inanimate objects, or abstract notions, especially as a rhetorical figure; the representation of a thing or abstraction in the form of a person, as in art; the person or thing embodying a quality or the like; an embodiment or incarnation: He is the personification of tact; an imaginary person or creature conceived or figured to represent a thing or abstraction. Plot - Also called storyline. the plan, scheme, or main story of a literary or dramatic work, as a play, novel, or short story. Protagonist - the leading character, hero, or heroine of a drama or other literary work. Simile - a figure of speech in which two unlike things are explicitly compared, as in “she is like a rose.” Compare metaphor.


FIND THE LITERARY TERMS IN NABUCCO Verdi’s Nabucco is filled with poetic language and dramatic situations that use literary and dramatic terms like those on the previous page. Review the passages from the opera’s libretto below and see if you can determine which literary term they represent. If you need help and want to review the context of the passage, the page number where you can find the excerpt is included.

Great Lord, Thou Who fliest on the wings of the wind, Who unleashest the thunderbolt from the seething storm clouds. (page 19)

This is an example of: a. metaphor b. imagery

c. irony

d. alliteration

As night before the bright sun, as dust driven by the wind, you shall vanish in the test of strength, o false god of Baal. (page 19) Like lightning he burst into the thick of the fight!

(page 20)

Upon his horse, he is on his way to the temple, like an evil whirlwind which brings ruin everywhere in its wake.

(page 20)

All of these are examples of: a. simile b. metaphor c. foreshadowing This love of mine is a fury, it can give you life or death

d. aside (page 20)

My fury, no longer curbed, will make terrible slaughter of the defeated Everywhere rises a harsh lament, the wind lifts it to his godless ears! All of these are examples of: a. motif b. plot c. personification

(page 20)

(page 22)

d. onomatopoeia

NEBUCHADNEZZAR (to himself) Oh, the shame that weighs heavy upon my white hair! In vain my icy hand reaches for my once-dreaded sword! Alas, miserable old man! You are the shadow of the king you were! (page 26) ABIGAILLE (to herself) Oh, day of coveted glory, you have come! These are both examples of: a. motif b. pathos c. metaphor d. aside

(page 26)

Who is (are) the protagonist(s) in Nabucco? ________________________________________________ Who is (are) the antagonist(s) in Nabucco? _________________________________________________


SEQUENCE OF THE S TORY The sequence of a story or play is very important for understanding the content. The sequence of events explains how things happen and when they happen. After reading the libretto, place the following events in order. Re-number the events from one to ten in the order that they occur in the opera. Write the act in which you find that event.

______ 1. Abigaille intends to kill the Hebrews, including Fenena, who has converted to Judaism.

Act ___

______ 2. Zaccaria’s hostage and Nabucco’s daughter Fenena is reunited with her lover Ismaele.

Act ___

______ 3. Abigaille poisons herself in horror at what she has done and prays to Jehovah for pardon.

Act ___

______ 4. In the Temple of Solomon Zaccaria and the Israelites seek shelter from the fearsome Nabucco.

Act ___

______ 5. Nabucco appears insane and calls himself God.

Act ___

______ 6. On the banks of the Euphrates River, the Hebrews think of their beloved homeland.

Act ___

______ 7. Nabucco orders the god of Baal’s idol destroyed.

Act ___

______ 8. Believing that Nabucco was killed in battle, Abigaille ascends the throne.

Act ___

______ 9. In prison, Nabucco prays to the Hebrew God for forgiveness, and vows to convert his people.

Act ___

______ 10. When Nabucco storms the temple, Zaccaria threatens to kill Fenena, but Ismaele protects her.

Act ___

AC T I V E L E A R N I N G What is the most important event in the opera? Pick what you feel is the most important event from the ten moments above. Discuss why you feel this scene is important with your classmates. How could you cause a change in this scene and affect the rest of the story’s plot? Discuss this new view of the opera with your classmates or write a new ending to the opera. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ (Use additional paper if necessary.)


PLOT THE ACTION IN NABUCCO Directions: Fill in the required information for each section below in numerical order. Use the information that appears with each section to help you proceed. It’s okay to write through the gray diagonal line in two of the sections.

2. As the story continues, the Rising Actions introduce complications and problems for the main characters. These difficulties create suspense!

3. The Climax of the story is when the reader is most interested in how the story will end. The suspense is at its peak, but the outcome is not yet known.

3. Climax

2. Rising Actions

4. Falling Action

4. Falling Action appears at the ending of the story. Suspense has been eliminated and these events show characters’ lives returning to normal.

1. The Exposition

1. The Exposition appears at the beginning of the story. It introduces us to the setting, characters and background information.


5. Resolution

5. The Resolution is the final solution to the problem or conflict. In stories with happy endings it’s called the denouement. Tragic endings are called catastrophe.

C H A R A C T E R C O M PA R I S O N S IN NABUCCO In this opera both Nabucco and Abigaille are fascinating characters with forceful personalities. In the boxes below review the differences and similarities between the characters. Discuss these traits in class.






CONFLICTS AND LOVES IN NABUCCO Verdi’s opera is filled with several fascinating characters, all of whom interact with each other. Draw a picture of your favorite character from the opera in the middle circle. In the outer circles, draw a picture of the other characters. In the boxes pointing to the middle circle, write how the other characters feel about your favorite character. In the boxes pointing to the outer circles, write how the central character feels about the other individuals.


BUILDING COSTUMES AND C H A R AC T E R Many people wear special costumes for their work. Name a few of these special workers. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ There are also times in our lives when we wear a special costume. Name a few of them. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The clothing a person wears tells a story all of its own. Our clothes can show if we are poor or wealthy. Our clothes can also show what type of work we do. When we see someone coming towards us on the street, we say that we size them up. This means that we make judgments about them based upon their appearance. Almost everyone makes this type of prejudicial judgment; however, this information can only tell us a part of the person’s story. There are some people who wear rich clothes acquired through a life of crime while there are other people we might see in our neighborhood who are poorly dressed and are humble, honest, caring, and hard-working individuals. Which person would you trust with your possessions or life? Use the space below to explain why. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ In reality, clothes do not make the man or the woman. It is the individual’s character which wins them the respect and confidence of those they meet. If we determine who we think we are on what it is that we wear, we will be shallow people with little strength in dealing with the demands of life and the requirements of building loving relationships. Life is not about creating illusions, as the story The Emperor’s New Clothes pointed out. Life is about struggling and building a character which will show who we really are. A wise person once said that we should not put our pride in things which will wear out but in things which will last forever. Doing your homework is one way to start developing your character, for it builds a true treasure of which you can be proud: your mind. Every story we see shown on TV or in a movie has had a costume designer choose the clothing to be worn by the characters. This is an important job because the clothing the actors wear tells a part of the story and can set the mood of a scene. The costume designer helps to build the illusion which the story requires if the viewer is to believe it. Which character in our opera would be most changed if his or her costume were radically changed? Which character is your favorite? Why? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A ctive L earning After you read the libretto, build a hand puppet based upon your favorite character. Design the costume which your character would wear in the opera. Ask your classmates which character they like most. If a few of you create different characters from the opera, possibly you can put on a puppet show on the opera’s ending for younger students. How would you change your opera? (Use additional paper if needed.)

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


T he I talian - E nglish C onnection The English language is influenced by many languages, including Italian. We find many Italian words in the English language, like gondola, fresco, vendetta, broccoli, volcano, basilica, stucco, and inferno. Look through the Italian portions of the libretto. You might be able to spot some Italian words that look a lot like English words because both have the same Latin or Greek origin. They are called cognates. Some Italian-English cognates include:



Attore Diretto Familiare Intelligente Museo Musica Stazione

Actor Direct Familiar Intelligent Museum Music Station

Verdi’s chorus “Va, pensiero” is a climactic and moving moment in the Nabucco. The chorus moved the Italian people at the opera’s premiere in 1842 and still moves audiences today. Let’s review the text of this famous chorus and see if we can find any cognates between the original Italian text below and familiar English words. Va, pensiero, sull’ali dorate;

Go, my thought, on golden wings;

va, ti posa sui clivi, sui colli,

go, alight upon the slopes, the hills,

ove olezzano tepide e molli

where, soft and tepid, the sweet breezes

l’aure dolci del suolo natal!

of our native land are fragrant!

Del Giordano le rive saluta,

Greet the banks of the Jordan

di sionne le torri atterrate…

and Zion’s razed towers…

oh, mia patria sì bella e perduta!

oh, my country so lovely and lost!

oh, membranza sì cara e fatal!

oh, remembrance so dear and ill-fated!

Arpa d’ôr dei fatidici vati,

Golden harp of the prophetic bards,

perché muta dal salice pendi?

why do you hang mute on the willow?

Le memorie nel petto raccendi,

Re-kindle the memories in our breasts,

ci favella del tempo che fu!

speak to us of the times of yore!

o simile di solima ai fati

Just as for the cruel fate of Jerusalem,

traggi un suono di crudo lamento,

intone a strain of bitter lamentation,

o t’ispiri il signore un concento

otherwise let the Lord inspire you with

che ne infonda al patire virtu!

a melody to give us virtue to suffer!

Look at the list of English words below. Try to match the English word to the Italian word highlighted in the text above from the famous chorus, “Va, pensiero.” To read the scene in context, visit page 27 of the book. Fate



___________________ Sweet





___________________ Tepid





___________________ Thought**





___________________ Time






* While not an exact cognate, the Italian word for greet is similar to the English word salute. ** Again, while not an exact cognate, the italian word for thought looks similar to the English word pensive.




CAREERS IN THE ARTS It takes a lot more people to put on an opera than just the singers on the stage. All of the people who have the jobs below work together to help the opera come to life. If you’re interested in a job in the arts, here are just some of the jobs that could help you have a career in the arts!-


• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Accompanist Actor/Actress Advertising Director Announcer Architect Architectural Model Builder Artist Artistic Director Art Festival Coordinator Art Teacher Arts Administrator Arts Consultant Arts Ed. Curriculum Writer Audio Engineer (recording) Band Director Book Designer Book Illuminator Box Office Director Business Manager Casting Director Choir Director Choreographer Cinematographer Clothing Designer Comedian Commercial Artist Composer Computer Graphics Design Concert Singer Conductor Contract Specialist Copyright Specialist

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Costume Buyer Costume & Mask Designer Creative Consultant Critic Cutter (costumes) Dancer Dialect Coach Dramaturg Draper (costumes) Dresser (theater) Extra (background actor) Fashion Designer First Hand (seamstress) Fundraiser (Development) Furniture Designer Graphic Designer House Manager (theater) Illustrator (fashion, book, etc.) Instrumentalist Librettist Lighting Designer Makeup Artist Manager (arts organizations) Master Electrician (stage) Model Builder Mold Maker Music Contractor Music Copyist & Transcriber Music Editor Music Librarian Music Teacher Musician

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Musicologist Orchestrator Painter Photographer Producer (theater, TV, movies) Proofreader (music) Props Buyer Props Designer Public Relations Specialist Publicist Publisher Scene Painter Scenic Designer Sculptor Set Decorator Set Dresser Shop Foreman (stage) Singer Special Effects Coordinator Stage Carpenter Stage Director Stage Hand Stage Manager Stitcher (costumes) Stunt Coordinator Theater Director Ticketing Agent TV Camera Operator Videographer Vocalist Wardrobe Mistress Wigmaker

AC T I V E L E A R N I N G Which of the careers listed above are interesting to you? Where do you think you could go to learn more about it? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


S U P P L E M E N TA L AC T I V I T I E S Looking to find other ways to get ready for Nabucco with your friends or family? Here’s a list of great books, activities, museums to visit, music resources, and creative and fun art projects.


• • • • • •

The Assyrian by Nicholas Guild The Witch of Babylon by D.J. McIntosh The Book of Stolen Tales by D.J. McIntosh The Servant of the Bones by Anne Rice Nebuchadnezzar by Joseph R. Chambers King Nebuchadnezzar (the first biblical werewolf) by Constance Lee


• • • • • • •

The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon by Stephanie Dalley Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon by Donald J. Wiseman The Pride of Babylon: The Story of Nebuchadnezzar by Warren Way Nebuchadnezzar: The Head of Gold by Joseph R. Chambers Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream: Daniel 2 by Michael Penny Images of Nebuchadnezzar: The Emergence of a Legend by Ronald Sack Babylon by Joan Oates

AC T I V I T I E S : History:

• • •

See your name written in the language of Babylonia, cuneiform: Visit the Penn Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology in Philadelphia Visit the National Museum of American Jewish History


• • • • •


• • • •


Perform a children’s musical about Nebuchadnezzar: Learn the chorus “Va, pensiero” and come to Independence Mall for a free broadcast of the opera! Download a free copy of the score: Audio CD: Riccardo Muti | Matteo Manuguerra | Renata Scotto | Nicolai Ghiaurov | EMI Classics DVD: James Levine | Juan Pons | Maria Guleghina | Samuel Ramey | Deutsche Grammophon Napoleon gave Piedmont a flag which he created out of the French flag. He took out the blue bar and inserted his favorite color, green. The standard bar of Italy’s flag is green, white and red. Make a copy of today’s flag of Italy. Imagine if you were a revolutionary in during this time. Make a protest poster using the revolutionary cry “Viva V.E.R.D.I.”. Make your own time line: Cut apart three supermarket paper bags. Cut them open down one of the side seams and cut off the bottom so that when laid flat, you have a rectangular piece of paper. Tape the bags together at the shorter ends, creating a long rectangular piece of paper. From the longer side of the bag near the top, measure in 10” and place a dot. Do the same near the bottom. Draw a straight line from the top to the bottom of the bag through both dots. From the information on the page of Verdi’s life, select the most important incidents for your time line. With these facts, include some of the important dates in history listed above. You may also illustrate your time line.

GLOSSARY OF TERMS A C T (AK T ) N . One of the main divisions of a play or opera A FFI X ( u h- F IKS ) V. to fasten, join, or attach. a f f l i c t e d ( u h- f likt - ed ) v. to distress with mental or bodily pain; trouble greatly or grievously. a l a s (u h- l a s ) i nt. used as an exclamation to express sorrow, grief, pity, concern, or apprehension of evil. a l i g h t ( u h- l a hyt) v. to settle or stay after descending. A LLE G RO ( UH - LE G - RO H ) A D V. Musical term for fast and lively. A ND A N T E ( AHN - DAHN - T E Y) A DV. A musical term meaning in moderate slow time. A N T A G ONIS T ( AN- TAG - O - N IS T ) N . An adversary or opponent of the main character or protagonist in an opera, play, or other drama. A RI A (AH R - EE - UH ) N . An operatic song for one voice. a r r o ga n c e ( a r - u h- gu hns ) n . offensive display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride. a u d a c i t y ( aw- da s - i - t ee) n . boldness or daring, especially with confident or arrogant disregard for personal safety, conventional thought, or other restrictions. av e n g e ( u h-v enj ) v. to take vengeance or exact satisfaction for. B aa l (ba hl) n . is a Northwest Semitic title and honorific meaning “master” or “lord” that is used for various gods who were patrons of cities in the Levant and Asia Minor. B ab y l o n ( ba b - u h- lu hn) n . an ancient city of SW Asia, on the Euphrates River, famed for its magnificence and culture: capital of Babylonia and later of the Chaldean empire.

b r a n d i s h i n g ( bra n -dis h -i n g ) v. to shake or wave, as a weapon; flourish. b r e t h r e n ( bre t h -ri n ) n . fellow members. c h o r d ( k aw rd ) n . a group of notes played at the same time in harmony. c h o r u s ( k aw r -u h s ) n . 1. a group of singers. 2. a piece of music for these. c h r o n o l o g i c a l ( kro n -lo j -i -ku h l) adj . a method of arrangement that puts events in order of occurrence. c l e m e n c y ( k l e m -u h n -s e e ) n . disposition to show forbearance, compassion, or forgiveness in judging or punishing; leniency; mercy. c l o ak ( k lo h k ) n . a loose outer garment, as a cape or coat. c o n d e m n ( ku h n -d e m ) v. to express an unfavorable or adverse judgment on; indicate strong disapproval of; censure. c o n q u e r o r ( kon g -k e r -e r ) n . a person who conquers or vanquishes; victor. c o n t e m pt u o u s ( ku h n - t e mp -c h oo-uhs ) adj . showing or expressing disdain; scornful; disrespectful. c o n t r a l t o ( ku h n - tr a l - to h ) n . the lowest female singing voice. c o n t r i t e ( ku h n - tr a h yt) a dj . caused by or showing sincere remorse. c o wa r d l y ( kou -e rd -l e e ) a dj . lacking courage; contemptibly timid. c r a s s ( kr a s ) a dj . without refinement, delicacy, or sensitivity; gross; obtuse; stupid.

B A R (BAH R) N . a division of music, marked by two bar lines, containing a set number of beats

c u r b e d ( kurbe d ) n . anything that restrains or controls; a restraint; check.

B A RI T ONE ( BA R - I- TO HN) N . the range of the male voice between tenor and bass

c u s t o d i a n ( ku h -s to h -d e e -u h n ) n . a person who has custody; keeper; guardian.

B A SS (BE YS ) N .the lowest male singing voice.

d e c e pt i v e ( dih -s e e v ) a dj . apt or tending to mislead by a false appearance or statement; delude.

B E A T (B EE T ) N .the basic pulse of a piece of music b e l at e d ( bi h- ley- tid) a dj . late, delayed, or detained. b e r e av e ( bi h- r eev ) v. to deprive and make desolate, especially by death. b l a s p h e m y ( b l a s - fuh- m ee) v. an act of cursing or reviling God. b r agga r t ( br ag - ert ) n . a person who does a lot of bragging.


d e f y ( dih -fa h y ) v. to challenge the power of; resist boldly or openly. d e p r i v e ( dih -pra h yv ) v. to remove or withhold something from the enjoyment or possession of. d e s c e n d ( dih -s e n d ) v. to go or pass from a higher to a lower place; move or come down. To slope, tend, or lead downward.

d i s h o n o r (di s - o n- er ) n . an indignity; insult. e n t r e at (en- tr eet ) v. to ask (a person) earnestly; beseech; implore; beg. e n t r u s t (e n- tru hs t ) v. to charge or invest with a trust or responsibility; charge with a specified office or duty involving trust. E u p h r at e s (yoo- frey- t eez ) n . a river in SW Asia, flowing from E Turkey through Syria and Iraq, joining the Tigris to form the Shatt-al-Arab near the Persian Gulf. e x i l e (e g-zahy l) n . the fact or state of expulsion from one’s native land by authoritative decree. e xt i n g u i s h e d ( ik - s tin g - gw i s hed ) a dj . to put an end to or bring to an end; wipe out of existence; annihilate. f e tt e r (fe t -e r) v. to confine; restrain. f l at (fl at) adj . a half-step lower than the corresponding note or key of natural pitch. f o r f e i t (fawr - fit) n . something to which the right is lost, as for commission of a crime or misdeed, neglect of duty, or violation of a contract. f o r t e (fawr - tey ) a dv. a musical term meaning loudly. f o r t i s s i m o ( for - t ee- s ee- mo h) a dv. a musical term for very loud. f u l m i n at e (fu hl - mu h- neyt) v. to issue denunciations or the like.

i n v i n c i b l e ( i n -vin -s u h -buh l ) a dj . incapable of being conquered, defeated, or subdued. J u d a e a ( j oo -d e e -u h ) n . the Roman province that incorporated the geographical regions of Judea, Samaria, and Idumea, and which extended over parts of the former regions of the Hasmonean and Herodian kingdoms of Israel. k e y ( k e e ) n . the basic note of the main scale used in a piece of music. In the key of G, for example, G is the fundamental note; the music often returns to it and comes to rest on it. l a m e n t ( lu h -m e n t ) n . a formal expression of sorrow or mourning, especially in verse or song; an elegy or dirge. l a r g o ( l a h r -go h ) a dv. & a dj . a musical term meaning in slow time and dignified style. L e v i t e s ( l e e -va h yt) n . in Jewish tradition, a Levite is a member of the Hebrew tribe of Levi. When Joshua led the Israelites into the land of Canaan, the Levites were the only Israel-

ite tribe that received cities but were not allowed to be landowners “because the Lord the God of Israel Himself is their inheritance”. l i b r e tt o ( l i -bre t -oh ) n . the words of an opera or other long musical.

m aj o r ( m e y-j e r ) a dj . music in a major key uses a major scale, in which the first three notes are the key note followed by intervals of a tone and then another tone (for example, A, B, C). It often has a cheerful, strong sound. m a n t l e ( m a n - t l ) n . a loose, sleeveless cloak or cape.

ga l l a n t (gal - u hnt ) a dj . brave, spirited, nobleminded, or chivalrous.

m a r t y r d o m ( m a h r - t e r -du h m ) n . the condition, sufferings, or death of a martyr.


m i n o r ( m a h y-n e r ) a dj . Music in a minor key uses a minor scale, in which the first three notes are the key note followed by intervals of a tone and then a semitone ( for example A, B, C). It often has a sad, melancholic sound.

h u m b l e (huhm - buhl) a dj . not proud or arrogant; modest. h u r t l e (hur - tl) v. to rush violently; move with great speed. h u s k (huhsk) n . the enveloping or outer part of anything, especially when dry or worthless. i d o l s (ahyd -l s ) n . an image or other material object representing a deity to which religious worship is addressed. i m p l o r e (im -p l aw r ) v. to beg urgently or piteously, as for aid or mercy; beseech; entreat i n f i d e l (in -fi -d l) a dj . without religious faith. i n f l a m e (in -fl eym) v. to kindle or excite (passions, desires, etc.). i n s o l e n t (in- s u h- lu hnt ) a dj . boldly rude or disrespectful; contemptuously impertinent; insulting. i n t e r d i c t (in - t er - dikt) n . a general or special order of the Roman praetor forbidding or commanding an act, especially in cases involving disputed possession. i n t o n e (in - tohn) v. to speak or recite in a singing voice, especially in monotone; chant.


n at u r a l ( n ac h -e r -u h l ) a dj . a note that is neither flattened nor sharpened. o c tav e ( ok - tiv ) n . a note that sounds twice as high in pitch as another is an octave above the other note, and has the same letter naming it. o m e n ( o h -mu h n ) n . anything perceived or happening that is believed to portend a good or evil event or circumstance in the future; portent. o m n i p o t e n t ( om -n ip -u h - tu h n t ) a dj . almighty or infinite in power, as God. o p e r a ( op -e r -u h ) n . a play in which the words are sung to musical accompaniment. o p u s ( oh -puh s ) n . a musical compostion numbered as one of a composer’s works (usually in order of publication). o r c h e s t r a ( awr -ku h -s tru h ) n . a large body of people playing various musical instruments, including stringed and wind instruments.


o v e r t u r e ( o h-v er - c her ) n . an orchestral composition forming a prelude to an opera or ballet.

s o o t h s ay e r s ( s oot h -s e y-e r ) n . a person who professes to foretell events.

pa r c h m e n t ( pa hrc h- mu hnt ) n . a manuscript or document.

s o p r a n o ( s u h -pra n -o h ) n . the highest female or boy’s singing voice.

p i a n i s s i m o ( p ee- u h- nees - ee- mo h ) adv. a musical term meaning very softly.

s o v e r e i g n ( s ov-ri n ) n . a monarch; a king, queen, or other supreme ruler.

p i a n o ( p ee- a n- oh) adv. a musical term meaning softly.

s tag e ( s t e y j ) n . a platform on which an opera, play, etc. are performed for an audience.

p l o t (plot ) n . the sequence of events in an opera, story, novel, etc. p r e s t o ( pres - to h) a dv. a musical term meaning very fast. p r e s u m pt i o n ( pri - z u hmp - s hu hn ) n . belief on reasonable grounds or probable evidence. p r o p h e c y ( prof - u h- s ee) n . the foretelling or prediction of what is to come. p r o s c e n i u m ( pro h- s ee- nee- u hm ) n . the arch or frame that separates a stage from the auditorium. p r o s t r at e ( pro s - treyt) v. to cast (oneself ) face down on the ground in humility, submission, or adoration. p r o tag o n i s t ( proh- tag - u h- ni s t ) n . the leading character in an opera, play, story, etc. r e b e l s ( r eb - u hl) n . a person who refuses allegiance to, resists, or rises in arms against the government or ruler of his or her country. r e g e n t ( r ee- j u hnt ) n . a person who exercises the ruling power in a kingdom during the minority, absence, or disability of the sovereign. r e s o u n d ( ri- z ou nd ) v. to proclaim loudly (praise, disapproval, etc.). r i t e s (r a hyts ) n . a particular form or system of religious or other ceremonial practice. s a c r e d ( s ey- krid ) a dj . devoted or dedicated to a deity

or to some religious purpose; consecrated.

s a c r i f i c i a l ( sa k - ruh- fi s h- u hl) n . the offering of animal, plant, or human life or of some material possession to a deity, as in propitiation or homage. s c a l e (s k ey l) n . a series of notes arranged in descending or ascending order of pitch. s c e pt r e ( s ep - t er ) n . royal or imperial power or authority; sovereignty. s e m i t o n e ( s em - ee- to hn) n . a half step or half tone, an interval midway between two whole tones. s h a r p ( #) ( s ha hrp ) n . any note a semitone higher than another note. Also, slightly too high in pitch. s h att e r e d ( s hat - erd ) v. to break (something) into pieces, as by a blow. s l a u g h t e r ( s l aw- t er ) v. the killing of great numbers of people or animals indiscriminately; carnage.


s tag i n g ( s t e y-j i n g ) n . the presentation or production on the stage. s u pp l i c at i o n ( s u h p -l i -k e y-s h u h n ) n . humble prayer, entreaty, or petition. s u r v e i l l a n c e ( s e r -v e y-lu h n s ) n . a watch kept over a person, group, etc., especially over a suspect, prisoner. s w o o p ( swoop ) v. to come down upon something in a sudden, swift attack. s y m p h o n y ( s im-fu h -n e e ) n . a long elaborate musical composition (usually in several parts) for a full orchestra. s y n o p s i s ( s i -n op -s i s ) n . a summary, a brief general survey. t e n o r ( t e n -e r ) n . the highest male singing voice. t o n e ( to h n ) n . 1. an interval equal to two semitones. 2. the sound quality of an instrument or voice. u r g e n t ( ur -j u h n t ) a dj . compelling or requiring immediate action or attention; imperative; pressing. va l o r ( va l -e r ) n . boldness or determination in facing great danger, especially in battle; heroic courage; bravery. va n q u i s h ( va n g -k w i s h ) v. to conquer or subdue by superior force, as in battle. v e n g e a n c e ( v e n -j u h n s ) n . infliction of injury, harm, humiliation, or the like, on a person by another who has been harmed by that person; violent revenge. v e r i s m o ( vu h -ri z -mo h ) n . realism in opera. v i l e ( va h y l ) a dj . wretchedly bad. wa r r a n t ( wawr -u h n t ) n . a writing or document certifying or authorizing something, as a receipt, license, or commission. w h i r l w i n d ( h wurl -w i n d ) n . any circling rush or violent onward course. w r at h ( r at h ) n . strong, stern, or fierce anger; deeply resentful indignation; ire. w r e t c h e d ( r e c h -id) a dj . very unfortunate in condition or circumstances; miserable; pitiable. y e a r n ( yur n ) v. to have an earnest or strong desire; long. Z i o n ( ZAY H -u h n ) n . a hill in Jerusalem, on which the Temple was built (used to symbolize the city itself, especially as a religious or spiritual center).


Joseph A. Dworetzky, member

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Opera Philadelphia Volunteer Special thanks to: Dr. Dennis W. Creedon

Creator, Sounds of Learning™ Curriculum Consultant

The McLean Contributionship

EMI Records

$1,000 to $4,999

Washington National Opera

Mutual Fire Foundation

Photos by Scott Suchman,

Louis N. Cassett Foundation

Nabucco production photographs

Maureen Lynch

Operations Manager

Academy of Music Cornell Wood

Head Usher

Academy of Music Opera Philadelphia is supported by major grants from The William Penn Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Lenfest Foundation, and the Wyncote Foundation.

Academy of Music Ushers Karma Communications

Additional support is provided by the Independence Foundation and the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation. The Opera Philadelphia receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.


Design Concept and Cover Design Kalnin Graphics


Center City Film and Video


o p e r ap h i l a . o r g

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