I Lombardi alla prima crociata
Opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi
Text by Temistocle Solera
Co-production with the St. Galler Festspiele
The opera tells of a feud between two brothers, set against the background of the First Crusade. Pagano was banished, because he wanted to kill his brother Arvino in a quarrel over the hand of Viclinda. Back in Milan, a desire for revenge reemerges in him since he still loves Viclinda, who has married his brother in the interim. When Arvino is then appointed leader of the crusaders, Pagano again undertakes an assassination attempt, in which his own father falls victim. In his renewed exile, Pagano ekes out the life of a hermit and now seeks to help the crusaders to victory over the Muslims as a sign of his repentance.
I Lombardi alla prima crociata (The Lombards on the First Crusade), which premiered in 1843, marked the real beginning of what Verdi himself described as the "galley years." In rapid succession from 1843 through Rigoletto (1851), he managed to create no less than 14 operas! I Lombardi continues the path Verdi took in Nabucco of using images in place of a strict plot structure, which offer an opportunity to present spectacular scenes and large choir tableaux. Solera's libretto, much rebuked in the past, has since proven itself to be almost visionary, particularly with regard to the clash of cultures and religions of our own times.
Duration of the performance: approx. 3 hours (including intermission)