Jerusalem (Giuseppe Verdi) ~ Introduction



… to Verdi’s forgotten crusader opera «Jérusalem»… BBC Philarmonic Orchestra, conductor: Sir Edward Downes. (BBC Radio 3 have an unreleased recording of «Jérusalem» from the 80’s lurking somewhere in their vaults…)

In March of 1847, the Paris Opéra commissioned a new opera (in French, of course) from Verdi. Given time constraints, Verdi did what Rossini and Donizetti had frequently done – he recycled the score of an earlier opera, «I Lombardi alla Prima Crociata». The new French libretto by Alphonse Royer and Gustave Vaëz streamlined the plot, moved the opening from Milan to Toulouse, changed names and added a happy ending… The opera was an immediate success when it opened in Paris on November 26, 1847 and eventually it came full circle, translated back into Italian and performed at La Scala, Milan on the day after Christmas 1850 as «Gerusalemme». However, it failed to supersede «I Lombardi» in the effections of Italian audiences… The US premiere was given at the Théâtre d’Orleans in New Orleans on 24 January 1850.

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