I due Foscari, Opera by G. Verdi
Lord Byron's passion and feeling fuse together with Giuseppe Verdi's limitless genius and strength in the opera I due Foscari. One of the Italian maestro's earliest successes, it had its premiere on 3 November 1844 at the Teatro Argentina in Rome. The composer's career would ride on this historical drama and on his other opera from the same year, Ernani, for the full decade up until his next big hit, Il trovatore, from 1853. Verdi connoisseurs are sure to spot the beginnings of his signature style and the bright rays of his musical genius in I due Foscari already. Gran Teatro La Fenice in Venice revives this timeless classic of Italian opera.
Verdi's masterwork is based on the well-known drama The Two Foscari by Lord Byron. It was Francesco Maria Piave's responsibility to adapt the English poet's play for the operatic stage. The in-demand librettist and a frequent partner of Verdi took the task to heart, and at Verdi’s encouragement embellished Byron’s original text to lift up the atmosphere and inject grandeur and excitement into the otherwise gloomy story. I Due Foscari was rejected in an early attempt to present it at Venice's La Fenice because the aristocratic families of the Venetian Republic found the libretto unpleasant. The concept found a friendlier home at Teatro Argentina in Rome. Both Verdi and Piave got to leave their mark on the original text by Byron. The librettist set about expanding the source text’s atmosphere and dramatic range, while Verdi created a piece that was filled with emotion and tension.
The two main characters, to whom the opera title refers, are Francesco Foscari, the Doge of Venice, and his son Jacopo Foscari. A murder conviction and a sentence of lifelong exile against Jacopo will force his father into a moral dilemma: Should he remain faithful to Venice, or should he protect the son whom he loves so dearly? The political and familial conflict festers, made worse by the machinations of the Council of Ten and power-hungry men ready to do what it takes. Verdi’s I due Foscari at Gran Teatro La Fenice feels as exciting and intense as it did at its premiere over one and a half centuries ago.