ERNANI Verdi – Teatro dell’Opera di Roma

Ernani is a love story about a young woman, Elvira, caught between three men: her lover, the nobleman-turned-outlaw Ernani; her guardian, the rich, elderly de Silva, who wants her for himself; and Don Carlo, the King of Spain who also has his eye on Elvira. Given the number of protagonists, it is also the story of a tragedy. Only 14 years after the premiere of Hernani, Giuseppe Verdi adapted Victor Hugo’s play into an opera to premiere at La Fenice, Venice in 1844. Ernani was an immediate and lasting triumph for the young Verdi, marking his prowess at adapting an historical event (the crowning of Charles V as emperor at Aachen Cathedral) to a psychologically convincing musical drama. The backdrop of three men paying court to one woman was the perfect foil for Verdi to explore the expressive qualities of three types of male voice. The tenor, a youthful suffering lover – Ernani. The bass, an elderly ruthless egotist – de Silva. The baritone, a more complex figure torn between tenderness and violence, self-indulgence and idealism – Don Carlo. As luxuriant as the sumptuous costumes of Hugo de Anna’s period production, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma’s cast stars Angela Meade, Francesco Meli, Evgeny Stavinsky and Ludovic Tézier.