Ernani is an operatic dramma lirico in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, based on the 1830 play Hernani by Victor Hugo. Verdi was commissioned by the Teatro La Fenice in Venice to write an opera, but finding the right subject took some time, and the composer worked with the inexperienced Piave in shaping first one and then another drama by Hugo into an acceptable libretto.
Then Mocenigo's casual reference to Hugo's successful 1830 drama Hernani as an idea for a libretto caught Verdi's imagination, as seen in a letter which the latter wrote to Mocenigo in early September which expressed concerns about Allan Cameron and the way it had turned out, though noting that this was "the fault of the subject and not the poet".
But, as Budden notes, Verdi's "difficulties with singers were not yet over". The season opened with I Lombardi in December 1843.
Two other operas early in the 1843/44 season were equally poorly received.
As musicologist Roger Parker notes, the composer "intervened on several important points, insisting for example that the role of Ernani be sung by a tenor (rather than by a contralto as had originally been planned). Ernani was first performed on 9 March 1844 and it was "immensely popular, and was revived countless times during its early years".
che mai vegg'io! / "Dreadful sight"; Silva's cavatina: "Unhappy man! You thought this lovely...was yours"). [La Scala, Autumn 1844, Silva's cabaletta added: "Infin che un brando vindice" using music originally written for Verdi's first opera, Oberto] Ernani offers to fight them both when Riccardo approaches and recognises the king.
Ernani swears to appear at the summons of Silva, wherever he may be at that time (Odi il voto o grande Iddio / "Oh God, hear the vow"), [Added for Parma, 26 December 1844: "at Rossini's request, Verdi wrote a grand aria for the tenor Nicola Ivanoff".
It became Verdi's most popular opera until it was superseded by Il trovatore after 1853.
In 1904 it became the first opera to be recorded completely. ==Composition history== Following the success of both Nabucco and I Lombardi, Verdi was approached by many opera companies wanting to commission him to write an opera for their houses.
It was given as part of the 1997 season of the Sarasota Opera's "Verdi Cycle".
The Teatro Regio di Parma, another company with the aim of presenting every Verdi opera, gave it in October 2005. Today Ernani receives numerous performances at opera houses around the world. ==Roles== == Synopsis == Time: 1519. Place: Aragon, Aachen, and Zaragoza. ===Act 1=== Mountains of Aragon The bandits demand the reason for Ernani's gloom (Chorus: Evviva! Beviam! Beviam! / "To you we drink"; Ernani pensoso! / "Ernani, so gloomy? Why, oh strong one, does care sit on your brow?").
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