Vienna Opera Tickets

    The Sicilian Vespers, Opera by G. Verdi

    The Sicilian Vespers, Opera by G. Verdi

    With a few major successes under his belt, Giuseppe Verdi was looking for a new creative direction in the mid-1850’s. Opera as a genre was similarly opening up to new approaches as old conventions were loosening their grip. At this opportune moment, the Italian composer received a commission from the Paris Opéra. He set his sights on a historical subject – the Sicilian Vespers of 1282, a successful Italian revolt against French rule – and a French-language opera loosely based on those events premiered in Paris on 13 June 1855 under the title Les vêpres siciliennes. It was well-received but did not leave a lasting impression in France, so Verdi had Eugène Scribe’s libretto translated into Italian and staged the new I Vespri Siciliani at Parma’s Teatro Regio on 26 December 1855. This has become the ultimate version of the opera, which Vienna State Opera is putting on this season as well.

    The plot of I Vespri Siciliani is set in Palermo, Sicily, in 1282 during the Sicilian Vespers uprising against French rule. The main characters are French governor Guido di Monforte, the Sicilian Duchess Elena, and Arrigo, a Sicilian rebel who is in love with her. The rebels plot to assassinate Monforte during a celebratory banquet, but their plans are foiled when Arrigo discovers that the governor is his long-lost father. The young rebel is shattered by the revelation since it puts both his political struggle and his romantic endeavours in serious question. The resolution is stunning and layered, as in any good Verdi opera.

    Many of the elements that make a classic Verdi opera are present in I Vespri Siciliani. The work is notable for its stirring choruses, rich orchestration and Verdi's masterful use of dramatic tension.

    The historical drama, the rousing ensembles and the musical dynamics create an atmosphere of immersion into the tumultuous times of the plot. At a time when opera as a genre was looking for new places to go, Verdi came to define what we now call ‘grand opera’ also thanks to this excellent creation from his middle period.

    image The Sicilian Vespers / A&A Tickets Online