Risorgimento! (opera)

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Risorgimento! is an opera in one act by Lorenzo Ferrero set to an Italian-language libretto by Dario Oliveri, based on a scenario by the composer. It was completed in 2010 and first performed at the Teatro Comunale Modena on 26 March 2011.

Lorenzo Ferrero Italian composer

Lorenzo Ferrero is a contemporary Italian composer, librettist, author, and book editor. He started composing at an early age and has written over a hundred compositions thus far, including twelve operas, three ballets, and numerous orchestral, chamber music, solo instrumental, and vocal works. His musical idiom is characterized by eclecticism, stylistic versatility, and a neo-tonal language.

Libretto text used for an extended musical work

A libretto is the text used in, or intended for, an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata or musical. The term libretto is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as the Mass, requiem and sacred cantata, or the story line of a ballet.

Teatro Comunale Modena opera house in Modena, Italy

The Teatro Comunale di Modena is an opera house in the town of Modena,, Italy. The idea for the creation of the present theatre dates from 1838, when it became apparent that the then-existing Teatro Comunale di via Emilia was no longer suitable for staging opera. However, this house had been the venue for presentations of all of the works of Donizetti, Bellini and Rossini up to this time, and a flourishing operatic culture existed in Modena.



The opera was commissioned by the Teatro Comunale di Bologna for the 150th anniversary of the Italian unification which was commemorated in 2011, and had there an initial run of six performances between April 5 and 16, coupled with Luigi Dallapiccola's Il prigioniero . [1] The work mixes the story of one of the most well-known operas by Giuseppe Verdi, Nabucco , with social and cultural aspects of the Risorgimento, through a plot in which one is the reflection of the other. The characters of the opera – says the composer – engage in a debate not just about the Risorgimento but also about the opera itself and its chances of success. [2] They are, at least in part, the same as the interpreters of that first Nabucco (then titled Nabucodonosor) staged at La Scala on 9 March 1842. [3]

Teatro Comunale di Bologna opera house in Bologna, Italy

The Teatro Comunale di Bologna is an opera house in Bologna, Italy, and is one of the most important opera venues in Italy. Typically, it presents eight operas with six performances during its November to April season.

Italian unification political and social movement that consolidated different Italian states into a single state

Italian unification, or the Risorgimento, was the political and social movement that consolidated different states of the Italian peninsula into the single state of the Kingdom of Italy in the 19th century. The process began in 1815 with the Congress of Vienna and was completed in 1871 when Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy.

Luigi Dallapiccola was an Italian composer known for his lyrical twelve-tone compositions.


The final scene of the opera Risorgimento! Final scene from the opera Risorgimento!.jpg
The final scene of the opera Risorgimento!
RoleVoice typePremiere cast, 26 March 2011
(Conductor: Michele Mariotti)
Bartolomeo Merelli, impresario baritone Alessandro Luongo
Giuseppina Strepponi, opera singer lyric soprano Valentina Corradetti
Giovannina Bellinzaghi, opera singer mezzo-soprano Annunziata Vestri
Luigi Barbiano di Belgioioso, Milanese patrician tenor Leonardo Cortellazzi
Maestro sostituto, rehearsal pianist bass Alessandro Spina
Giuseppe Verdi, composerspoken roleUmberto Bortolani
Offstage chorus, dancer, silent figures.


Place: La Scala, Milan.
Time: February 1842.

In a room inside the theatre the répétiteur (Maestro sostituto) is rehearsing with Giovannina Bellinzaghi Fenena's prayer from the fourth act of the opera Nabucco. The singer is expressing her doubts about the subject and about the artistic value of the work. During the dialogue enters impresario Bartolomeo Merelli, who defends the composer and his opera. He evokes the genesis of Nabucco and reveals his preoccupation with the Austrian censorship. The rehearsal pianist and the singer leave. Alone on the stage, Merelli is reflecting on the young Verdi and on the fact that his companion, Giuseppina Strepponi, seems attracted to him. The pianist returns and waits with Merelli for the arrival of Strepponi. The impresario talks about his intention to stage at La Scala Pacini's opera Saffo . When the singer finally arrives, he asks her to work on Saffo's aria, but she prefers Verdi's music and starts rehearsing Abigaille's trio instead. Her song turns into a dream in which she confesses that she feels a strange attraction for Verdi and his music.

A répétiteur is an accompanist, tutor or coach of ballet dancers or opera singers.

An impresario is a person who organizes and often finances concerts, plays, or operas, performing a role similar to that of an artist manager or a film or television producer. The term “impresario” was used by the Spanish, and then English-speaking settlers of the Pacific Northwest to describe, “one who brought a new community into being and managed affairs to ensure its prosperity.”

Giovanni Pacini Italian composer

Giovanni Pacini was an Italian composer, best known for his operas. Pacini was born in Catania, Sicily, the son of the buffo Luigi Pacini, who was to appear in the premieres of many of Giovanni's operas. The family was of Tuscan origin, and just happened to be in Catania when the composer was born.

Merelli and the pianist return and are joined by Luigi Barbiano, Conte di Belgioioso, who brings the approval of the libretto. An excited political discussion follows between the Maestro sostituto and the count, who ends up by being offended and walks off, slamming the door. Merelli and Strepponi follow him. The pianist regrets letting himself get carried away and restarts rehearsing with Bellinzaghi. Fenena's prayer, too, dissolves itself in a dream, which anticipates the triumphal debut of the opera and re-elaborates various images of the Risorgimento. At the end of the dream, Giuseppe Verdi appears, aged and now Senator of the Kingdom. In his monologue he interweaves the nostalgia for the past with his preoccupation for the uncertain future.

Kingdom of Italy kingdom on the Appenine Peninsula between 1861 and 1946

The Kingdom of Italy was a state which existed from 1861—when King Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia was proclaimed King of Italy—until 1946—when a constitutional referendum led civil discontent to abandon the monarchy and form the modern Italian Republic. The state was founded as a result of the unification of Italy under the influence of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which can be considered its legal predecessor state.

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  1. "Teatro Comunale Modena 2010/2011 opera season".
  2. "Universal Music Publishing Classical presentation". Archived from the original on 2013-02-05.
  3. Gavazzeni, Giovanni, ed. (2011). Lorenzo Ferrero: Risorgimento! Luigi Dallapiccola: Il prigioniero. Bologna: Edizioni Pendragon, p. 32.


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