Returning after a hiatus!

Nabucco was Verdi's third opera and his first hit. It is loosely based on the Biblical stories of Nebuchadnezzar (Nabucodonosor) and the Babylonian Exile. As frequently happens in opera, the libretto shows little acquaintance with Biblical Judaism or actual history. However, if you can put that aside, there is glorious music, some highly dramatic confrontations, a soprano villain with a notoriously difficult part, and an unusual mad scene for baritone. Nabucco includes the well-known chorus "Va, pensiero," which became an unofficial anthem of the Italian Risorgimento.

Today I am posting a different chorus: "Il maledetto non ha fratelli." In this scene, the Jewish religious leaders curse Ismaele for betraying his people by saving Nabucco's daughter.


[Leviti, che vengono cautamente dalla porta a destra, indi Ismaele che si presenta dal fondo.][Levites, who enter cautiously from the door to the right, then Ismaele who appears from the back.]
  
COROCHORUS
Che si vuol? Chi mai ci chiamaWhat do they want? Who calls us
Or di notte in dubbio loco?now, by night, in a doubtful place?
  
ISMAELEISMAELE
Il Pontefice vi brama... The High Priest wants you . . .
  
COROCHORUS
Ismael!!! Ismaele!
  
ISMAELEISMAELE
Fratelli! Brothers!
  
COROCHORUS
Orror!!!Horror!
Fuggi!.. va! Flee! Begone!
  
ISMAELEISMAELE
Pietade invoco! I call upon your mercy!
  
COROCHORUS
Maledetto dal Signor!Accursed of the Lord!
  
Il maledetto non ha fratelli...The accursed man has no brothers . . .
Non v'ha mortale che a lui favelli!There is no mortal who speaks to him!
Ovunque sorge duro lamentoWherever a harsh lament rises,
All'empie orecchie lo porta il vento!the wind carries it to his wicked ears!
Sulla sua fronte come il balenoUpon his brow, like the lightning flash,
Fulge il divino marchio fatal!shines the divine mark of fate!*
Invano al labbro presta il veleno,In vain he readies the poison for his lips,
Invan al core vibra il pugnal!in vain the dagger strikes his heart!
  
ISMAELE [con disperazione]ISMAELE [in desperation]
Per amor del Dio viventeFor the love of the Living God,
Dall'anatema cessate!cease from your curses!
Il terror mi fa demente!Terror is driving me mad!
Oh! la morte per pietà!Oh! Death, in mercy's name!
  
COROCHORUS
Sei maledetto dal Signor!You are accursed of the Lord!
ISMAELEISMAELE
Per pietà! ah per pietà!In mercy's name!
  
COROCHORUS
Il maledetto non ha fratelli... (ecc.)The accursed man has no brothers (etc.)
ISMAELEISMAELE
Cessate! Ah!Stop! Ah!
Oh! la morte per pietà!Oh! Death, in mercy's name!



* A reference to the mark of Cain.
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