"Va, pensiero" (Italian: [ˈva penˈsjɛːro] ), also known as the "Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves", is a chorus from the opera Nabucco (1842) by Giuseppe Verdi. It recollects the period of Babylonian captivity after the loss of the First Temple in Jerusalem in c. 500 BCE.
Nabucco is an Italian-language opera in four acts composed in 1841 by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Temistocle Solera. The libretto is based on biblical books of Jeremiah and Daniel and the 1836 play by Auguste Anicet-Bourgeois and Francis Cornu, although Antonio Cortese's ballet adaptation of the play, given at La Scala in 1836, was a more important source for Solera than the play itself. Under its original name of Nabucodonosor, the opera was first performed at La Scala in Milan on 9 March 1842.
Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi was an Italian opera composer. He was born near Busseto to a provincial family of moderate means, and developed a musical education with the help of a local patron. Verdi came to dominate the Italian opera scene after the era of Vincenzo Bellini, Gaetano Donizetti, and Gioachino Rossini, whose works significantly influenced him. By his 30s, he had become one of the pre-eminent opera composers in history.
The Babylonian captivity or Babylonian exile is the period in Jewish history during which a number of people from the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylonia. After the Battle of Carchemish in 605 BCE, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon besieged Jerusalem, resulting in tribute being paid by King Jehoiakim. Jehoiakim refused to pay tribute in Nebuchadnezzar's fourth year, which led to another siege in Nebuchadnezzar's seventh year, culminating with the death of Jehoiakim and the exile of King Jeconiah, his court and many others; Jeconiah's successor Zedekiah and others were exiled in Nebuchadnezzar's eighteenth year; a later deportation occurred in Nebuchadnezzar's twenty-third year. The dates, numbers of deportations, and numbers of deportees given in the biblical accounts vary. These deportations are dated to 597 BCE for the first, with others dated at 587/586 BCE, and 582/581 BCE respectively.
The libretto is by Temistocle Solera, inspired by Psalm 137. The opera with its powerful chorus established Verdi as a major composer in 19th-century Italy. The full incipit is "Va, pensiero, sull'ali dorate", meaning "Go, thought, on golden wings".
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.
Temistocle Solera was an Italian opera composer and librettist.
Psalm 137 is the 137th psalm of the Book of Psalms, and as such it is included in the Hebrew Bible. In English it is generally known as "By the rivers of Babylon", which is how its first words are translated in the King James Version. It is Psalm 136 in the slightly different numbering system of the Greek Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate versions of the Bible. Its Latin title is "Super flumina Babylonis".
Some scholars have thought that the chorus was intended to be an anthem for Italian patriots, who were seeking to unify their country and free it from foreign control in the years up to 1861 (the chorus's theme of exiles singing about their homeland, and its lines like O mia patria, si bella e perduta / "O my country, so beautiful, and lost" was thought to have resonated with many Italians).Some modern scholars have rejected this idea, failing to see connections between Verdi's 1840s and 1850s operas and Italian nationalism, with the exception of some of the sentiments expressed in his 1843 opera, I Lombardi .
Italian unification, also known as 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.
Italian nationalism asserts that the Italians are a nation with a single identity and seeks to promote the cultural unity of Italy as a country, in a definition of Italianness claiming descent from the Latins who originally dwelt in Latium and came to dominate the Italian peninsula and much of Europe. Italian nationalism has also historically adhered to imperialist theories. The romantic version of such views is known as Italian patriotism, while their integral version is known as Italian fascism.
Other recent research has discussed several of Verdi's works from the 1840s (including Giovanna d'Arco and Attila ) emphasising their ostensible political meaning.Work by Philip Gossett on choruses of the 1840s also suggests that recent revisionist approaches to Verdi and the Risorgimento may have gone too far in their thorough dismissal of the political significance of "Va, pensiero".
Giovanna d'Arco is an operatic dramma lirico with a prologue and three acts by Giuseppe Verdi set to an Italian libretto by Temistocle Solera, who had prepared the libretti for Nabucco and I Lombardi. It is Verdi's seventh opera.
Attila, frequently called Attila the Hun, was the ruler of the Huns from 434 until his death in March 453. He was also the leader of a tribal empire consisting of Huns, Ostrogoths, and Alans among others, in Central and Eastern Europe.
Philip Gossett was an American musicologist and historian, and Robert W. Reneker Distinguished Service Professor of Music at the University of Chicago. His lifelong interest in 19th-century Italian opera began with listening to Metropolitan Opera broadcasts in his youth. Divas and Scholars: Performing Italian Opera, a major work on the subject, won the Otto Kinkeldey Award of the American Musicological Society as best book on music of 2006.
On 27 January 1981 the journalist and creative writer Giorgio Soaviproposed replacing Italy's national anthem with "Va, pensiero" in a letter published by Indro Montanelli in his daily newspaper Il Giornale . The proposal was widely discussed for some time and then abandoned until 2009, when Senator Umberto Bossi took it up again, but to no effect. However, Bossi's political party, Lega Nord/Padania, has adopted "Va, pensiero" as its official hymn and the chorus is now sung at all party meetings.
"Il Canto degli Italiani" is the national anthem of Italy. It is best known among Italians as the "Inno di Mameli", after the author of the lyrics, or "Fratelli d'Italia", from its opening line. The words were written in the autumn of 1847 in Genoa, by the then 20-year-old student and patriot Goffredo Mameli. Two months later, they were set to music in Turin by another Genoese, Michele Novaro. The hymn enjoyed widespread popularity throughout the period of the Risorgimento and in the following decades. Nevertheless, after the Italian Unification in 1861, the adopted national anthem was the "Marcia Reale", the official hymn of the House of Savoy composed in 1831 by order of King Charles Albert of Sardinia. After the Second World War, Italy became a republic, and on 12 October 1946, "Il Canto degli Italiani" was provisionally chosen as the country's new national anthem. It was made official on 4 December 2017 de jure.
Indro Alessandro Raffaello Schizogene MontanelliKnight Grand Cross OMRI was an Italian journalist and historian. Generally considered one of the greatest Italian journalists of the 20th century, he was among the 50 World Press Freedom Heroes of the previous 50 years named by the International Press Institute in 2000. He distinguished himself for his original approach to writing history in books such as History of the Greeks and History of Rome.
il Giornale is an Italian language daily newspaper published in Milan, Italy.
In 2011, after playing "Va, pensiero" at a performance of Nabucco at the Teatro dell'Opera in Rome, conductor Riccardo Muti made a short speech protesting cuts in Italy's arts budget, then asked the audience to sing along in support of culture and patriotism.
The Teatro dell'Opera di Roma is an opera house in Rome, Italy. Originally opened in November 1880 as the 2,212 seat Costanzi Theatre, it has undergone several changes of name as well modifications and improvements. The present house seats 1,600.
Riccardo Muti, is an Italian conductor. He holds two music directorships: the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cherubini. Previously he held posts at the Maggio Musicale in Florence, the Philharmonia Orchestra in London, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Teatro alla Scala in Milan and the Salzburg Whitsun Festival. Muti has been a prolific recording artist and has received dozens of honours, titles, awards and prizes. He is particularly associated with the music of Giuseppe Verdi.
Verdi composed Nabucco at a difficult moment in his life. His wife and small children had all just died of various illnesses. Despite a purported vow to abstain from opera-writing, he had contracted with La Scala to write another opera and the director forced the libretto into his hands. Returning home, Verdi happened to open the libretto at "Va, pensiero" and seeing the phrase, he heard the words singing. At first rehearsal "the stagehands shouted their approval, then beat on the floor and the sets with their tools to create an even noisier demonstration".As he was subsequently to note, Verdi felt that "this is the opera with which my artistic career really begins. And though I had many difficulties to fight against, it is certain that Nabucco was born under a lucky star".
Upon Verdi's death, along his funeral's cortege in the streets of Milan, bystanders started spontaneous choruses of "Va, pensiero". A month later, when he was reinterred alongside his wife at the Casa di Riposo, a young Arturo Toscanini conducted a choir of eight hundred in the famous hymn.
Va, pensiero, sull'ali dorate;
Go, thought, on wings of gold;
Francesco Maria Piave was an Italian opera librettist who was born in Murano in the lagoon of Venice, during the brief Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy.
Oberto, Conte di San Bonifacio is an opera in two acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Temistocle Solera, based on an existing libretto by Antonio Piazza probably called Rocester.
Un giorno di regno, ossia Il finto Stanislao is an operatic melodramma giocoso in two acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto written in 1818 by Felice Romani. Originally written for the Bohemian composer Adalbert Gyrowetz the libretto was based on the play Le faux Stanislas written by the Frenchman Alexandre-Vincent Pineux Duval in 1808. Un giorno was given its premiere performance at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan on 5 September 1840.
I Lombardi alla Prima Crociata is an operatic dramma lirico in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Temistocle Solera, based on an epic poem by Tommaso Grossi, which was "very much a child of its age; a grand historical novel with a patriotic slant". Its first performance was given at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan on 11 February 1843. Verdi dedicated the score to Maria Luigia, the Habsburg Duchess of Parma, who died a few weeks after the premiere.
Attila is an opera in a prologue and three acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Temistocle Solera, based on the 1809 play Attila, König der Hunnen by Zacharias Werner. The opera received its first performance at La Fenice in Venice on 17 March 1846.
"Suona la tromba" or "Inno popolare" was a secular hymn composed by Giuseppe Verdi in 1848 to a text by the Italian poet and patriot Goffredo Mameli. The work's title comes from the opening line of Mameli's poem. It has sometimes been referred to as "Grido di guerra" and "Euterpe Patria".
Decasyllable is a poetic meter of ten syllables used in poetic traditions of syllabic verse. In languages with a stress accent, it is the equivalent of pentameter with iambs or trochees.
Jérusalem is a grand opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi. The libretto was to be an adaptation and partial translation of the composer's original 1843 Italian opera, I Lombardi alla prima crociata. It was the one opera which he regarded as the most suitable for being translated into French and, taking Eugène Scribe's advice, Verdi agreed that a French libretto was to be prepared by Alphonse Royer and Gustave Vaëz, who had written the libretto for Donizetti's most successful French opera, La favorite. The opera received its premiere performance at the Salle Le Peletier in Paris on 26 November 1847. The maiden production was designed by Paul Lormier (costumes), Charles Séchan, Jules Diéterle and Édouard Desplechin, and Charles-Antoine Cambon and Joseph Thierry.
Antonio Somma was an Italian playwright who is most well known for writing the libretto of an opera which ultimately became Giuseppe Verdi's Un ballo in maschera in 1859. While a student, his tragedy, Parisina, gave him quite a success.
Padanian nationalism is an ideology and a regionalist movement demanding more autonomy or even independence from Italy, for Padania, a region encompassing Northern and part of central Italy.
Va' pensiero Padania was a Northern-Italian electoral list for the 2001 general election.
Gustavo III is an opera by Giuseppe Verdi to a libretto begun in early 1857 by the Italian playwright Antonio Somma. Never performed as written, the libretto was later revised several times under two additional names – Una vendetta in domino and Adelia degli Adimari – during which the setting was changed to vastly different locations. Eventually, it was agreed that it could be called Un ballo in maschera, the one by which it is known today, but Verdi was forced to accept that the location of the story would have to be Colonial Boston. This setting became the "standard" one until the mid-20th Century. Most productions today locate the action in Sweden.
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.
Il proscritto (1841), revised as Die Heimkehr des Verbannten (1844) is an opera by Otto Nicolai.