Most recent performance
There are currently no scheduled performances of I due Foscari. It was last on stage 14 October—2 November 2014 as part of the Autumn 2014/15 season.
Jacopo Foscari, son of the Doge of Venice, is convicted of murder and treason. His wife Lucrezia is sure of his innocence. But the Doge, trapped by the machinations of a corrupt city, is forced to make a terrible decision.
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I due Foscari, Verdi's sixth opera, is one of his darkest and saddest. At its heart is a father's realization that there is nothing he can do to protect his family against the world's cruelties. The 31-year-old composer may well have drawn on his own devastating experience of losing his wife and two infant children a few years earlier. But despite the opera's sombre soul, the music for I due Foscari contains exhilarating forerunners of Verdi's later style – particularly in the fiercely virtuosic writing for the heroine Lucrezia and her magnificent duets with the Doge in Act I and with her doomed husband in Act II.
American director Thaddeus Strassberger, making his Royal Opera debut, depicts a Venice that is rotten to its core. Mattie Ullrich's opulent costume designs reference the opera’s 15th-century setting while suggesting the corruption lurking beneath. The spare sets of award-winning British designer Kevin Knight illustrate the Foscaris' isolation and the decay of the city, before flaring out into grand guignol for the opera's brilliant Act III carnival.
News and features
21 May 2015
The composer of La traviata, Macbeth and Otello consolidated and innovated the opera of his time.
27 October 2014
What did you think of the live relay of Thaddeus Strassberger's Royal Opera production of Verdi's early tragedy?
27 October 2014
Backstage films from the live relay of I due Foscari, including Antonio Pappano introducing Verdi's music and Plácido Domingo on his transition from tenor to baritone.
21 October 2014
Chorus Director Renato Balsadonna on conducting his first opera at the Royal Opera House.
20 October 2014
Stephen Fry will present the performance, starring Plácido Domingo and conducted by Antonio Pappano.
15 October 2014
What did you think of Thaddeus Strassberger's production of Verdi's early tragedy?
I due Foscari (The Two Foscari) is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, based on a historical play, The Two Foscari by Lord Byron. After his success with Ernani, Verdi received a commission from Rome's Teatro Argentina and he went to work with Piave in considering two subjects, one of which eventually became this opera. I due Foscari was given its premiere performance in Rome on 3 November 1844 and was generally quite successful, although not on the scale of Ernani, which remained Verdi's most popular opera until Il trovatore in 1853. Today, Foscari is revived occasionally and its fortunes have been helped by the interest taken by tenor Plácido Domingo in singing baritone roles. He has already performed the role of the Doge in Los Angeles in 2012, in Valencia in early 2013, in Vienna and London in 2014, and Barcelona in 2015.