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Opera South East presents ‘Nabucco’

Peter Grevatt returns for OSE’s next production (Verdi’s Nabucco) playing the title role (the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar).

Opera has a habit of using timeless ‘themes’ as in both ‘plots’ and famous ‘musical numbers’, which resonate far beyond the opera House. The chorus of the Hebrew Slaves from Verdi’s Nabucco struck a chord with the Italian nation, identifying him with his country’s political aspirations. Nabucco was Verdi’s first great success and here director Fraser Grant tells us about his new realization for Opera South East.

On the 9th March 1842 Nabucco premiered at La Scala in Milan. Retelling the story of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar, it begins with the destruction of a Hebrew temple, and continues with the exiling and imminent genocide of the Jewish slaves. As the curtain falls we see the Lear-like Nabucco begging forgiveness and accepting the Jewish faith. Religious intolerance has given way to a fresh hope for a brighter future…..

Just under one hundred years later, on the 9th March 1938, the Nazis burnt down and destroyed 100s of synagogues in Berlin and Austria in what has come to be known as Kristallnacht- the night of broken glass, leading eventually to the horrors of the ensuing holocaust.

Have we learnt from history? Or is religious intolerance as rife now as it was thousands of years ago? As 60 years ago?

This new production by Opera South East takes as its starting point recent historical events to explore the highly relevant themes of this opera. It also explores the similarities between Nabucco and King Lear- as the tyrant descends into madness and near death at the hand of his own daughter.

Political intrigue, a feuding dynasty, the imminent destruction of an entire race; all set to some of Verdi’s most dramatic music (including THAT chorus.). Little wonder the composer himself said that it was ‘born under a lucky star”.

Opera South East presents Verdi’s Nabucco at the White Rock Theatre, Hastings on Friday 24th and Saturday 25th February 2012, at 7.30 pm.  We are delighted to welcome back Peter Grevatt in the title role alongside Ian Parrett and Toby Sims with newcomers Judith Gardner Jones and Miriam Sharrad and with local stars Julia Bovee  and John T Smith making up the strong cast accompanied by the Sussex Concert Orchestra conducted by Kenneth Roberts.


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