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Your reaction: Daniele Abbado's production of Nabucco 2013

A selection of audience tweets from the first performances of Verdi's epic.

By Lottie Butler (Former Assistant Content Producer (News and Social Media))

2 April 2013 at 11.46am | 17 Comments

Your reaction: Daniele Abbado's production of Nabucco

A selection of audience tweets from the first performances of Verdi's epic.

Storified by Royal Opera House· Tue, Apr 02 2013 03:42:53

I love Nabucco Luisotti+orchestra+Balsadonna+chorus+cast made me soooo happy tonight! Bravi tutti& of course Viva Verdi!!!! #RohnabuccoHariclea Darclee
Thought Nabucco @RoyalOperaHouse was phenomenal, a masterful performance by the Chorus, loved every note!! #ROHnabucco #VaPensieroJack Christie
Full review of #ROHNabucco tomorrow but this is a stinker, save your money.Capriccio music blog
RO successfully confused me again. . 1st by body double and this time who's who guessing game. #ROHnabuccoYosh M
Still, #ROHchorus singing 'Va, pensiero' was worth the ticket price alone #ROHNabucco #youdknowitifyouhearditLisa Katsiaris
Puzzling production, much fine singing, chorus star of show. #ROHnabuccoPaul Lay
Your comments on the production...
The Royal Opera in Nabucco © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2013Royal Opera House Covent Garden
Stonehenge in a sandpit. There, that's the set done with. Now for the rest of my review. #ROHNabuccoMark Pullinger
production a bore and i didn't like inhaling that dust-could from sandpit, bet even worse for the singers #rohnabuccoHariclea Darclee
is impressed at how the singing carried on despite having sand in one's shoes. #ROHNabuccoAndrea Liu
Slightly mystified by need for a 2- or 3-minute scene change mid Act 3. From "bare stage with wire sculptures" to "bare stage" #ROHNabuccoRuth Elleson
Your comments on the cast...
#ROHnabucco is a feast for the ears while the eyes are bored. Charmless staging but with singing like this I don't care. Monastyrska rocks!Fedja Hadrovich
Liudmyla Monastyrska as Abigaille in Nabucco © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2013Royal Opera House Covent Garden
#ROHnabucco Is it humanly possible to have a voice as huge as Abigaille's?Andrea Liu
#ROHnabucco The singing more than redeemed an ugly and pointless production. Best Abigaile ever? I say YES!!!!!Thierry Bregliano
Leo Nucci as Nabucco in Nabucco © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2013Royal Opera House Covent Garden
@RoyalOperaHouse amazing #nabucco and wonderful to see the great Leo NucciZafferano
Nicola Luisotti's conducting was spot-on & elicited some incredibly idiomatic from a rejuvenated orchestra. #ROHNabuccoOperatraveller
From two stars to four stars, a selection of reviews...
Nabucco, Royal Opera House, London - review -©Catherine Ashmore The biblical origin of Nabucco has done the opera few favours. In the 19th century Nabucodonosor, as it was originally...
Nabucco - reviewGiuseppe Verdi's Old Testament epic established his reputation in 1842, and while he undoubtedly acquired far greater subtlety over the s...
Nabucco, Royal Opera house, LondonTopical references in programme notes printed in advance are risky, and Boris Berezovsky's miserable demise has made Covent Garden's essa...

The production will run until Friday 26 April and will be shown delayed live in cinemas on 29 April.

By Lottie Butler (Former Assistant Content Producer (News and Social Media))

2 April 2013 at 11.46am

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged by Daniele Abbado, Giuseppe Verdi, Leo Nucco, Liudmyla Monastyrska, Nabucco, Nicola Luisotti, Production, The Royal Opera, verdi, your reaction

This article has 17 comments

  1. Sue responded on 3 April 2013 at 9:59am Reply

    What a dreary production. A pity the ROH didn't chuck it alongside the La Donna del Lago they also co-produced with La Scala. The evening was salvaged by Monastyrska's sensational Abigaille. Please please please can we have her back soon in more Verdi? She is a proper star and deserves billing as such!

  2. Peter Erdos responded on 3 April 2013 at 10:41am Reply

    The performance on the 1st of April was a great disappointment for me. Having seen several performances of Nabucco before, my expectation was very high. I felt sorry for people who have not seen it before, as it was quite difficult to understand who was a Hebrew and who was an Assyrian.Everything was grey and drab, Princesses looked like slaves.Kings in braces huh!
    Musically the only salvation was Monastyrska, really sensational! (superb Aida and lady Macbeth as well)
    Very small voices for the other roles did not reach the Amphitheatre!
    I will be going to see the Domingo performance in the cinema, I wonder if the performance will fare any better.

    • Sandro responded on 4 April 2013 at 12:03pm

      Dear Peter,

      I was also April 1st to see Nabucco,
      are completely disagree with your opinion for these reasons:
      - Abigail's voice was almost always shouted, incompresibile to anyone who knows the Italian language and Nabucco. The interpretation was lonely, in fact a work alone without sharing feelings and emotions with the other performers.
      I think you've seen another Nabucco or maybe you lack the experience to appreciate who sings and plays a character who only reads so cold and detached a score.

      Honestly, Sandro

    • BlechSonia responded on 22 April 2013 at 12:49pm

      I totally agree with Peter Andros. You dont need to be Italian to understand opera as Sandro pretends. Monastyera a Gem, Production abysmal. Chorus fantastic. I wish the RIOH producers would not try to be always clever by half!

  3. Ian Slade responded on 4 April 2013 at 6:58pm Reply

    Utterly dismal production, ranging from the banal to the hackneyed...oh the Jews strip before they killed...get that reference??? At least that enabled us to tell who was who. What were those Gormleyesque heads all about? Still, musically wonderful. Looking forward to hearing Domingo, but Nucci a very tough act to follow.

  4. John Rose responded on 7 April 2013 at 9:09pm Reply

    I attended Nabucco on 6 April. Enough has already been said about the confused production,but the musical standards more than compensated for it:orchestra,chorus,conductor and soloists gave a thoroughly full-bloodied and involved performance.We are lucky to have such a fine orchestra and chorus at present.
    My only gripe was in the scheduling of this run of performances. This was the fourth in eight days,and given the whole-hearted efforts demanded,there were inevitably some signs of sheer fatigue in some of the principle singers. It's a "big sing" with only 48 hours recovery time. I notice Domingo,when he arrives, has been awarded 72 hours minimum between performances.No doubt he can dictate his own terms.Not surprisingly,perhaps,given his vast experience,it was the 71 years old Nucci who knew best how to conserve his voice.
    It must be a nightmare scheduling opera and ballet demands...and normally ROH does this in an exemplary way. I just feel,however,in this case,those attending the 4th and 5th performances are being just a wee bit short-changed by hearing singers who are not necessarily ill...but just tired.

  5. Karen responded on 9 April 2013 at 11:22am Reply

    As others have said, musically wonderful, dramatically disappointing. I'm not averse to updating but only when there's a point to be made - apart from the rather crass one with the Jews undressing before presumed execution. Even the ring of fire lit by Abigaille had no reasoning behind it. In fact given that singers and chorus seemed to line up and face the audience to sing most of the time, it would have been better to have done a concert performance - at least everyone would have known what they were in for. The ROH survey I was sent asked if I would go back and see the performance again - pity they didn't have an option that said 'not if you paid me'.

  6. I am astonished that people are dis pleased with this stunning production. I took a friend who is not really into opera let alone early version and he was completely thrilled by the experience. Some people seem to have thought that the effects were "pointless" . I really do not understand this. The images Abbado chose were universal and modern. Surely in this day and age we do not require Old Testament images.The piece is about displacement, power struggle and religion all these elements were sensitively dealt with. The different factions were totally distinguishable and in any case we know that in such a situation people in differing tribal and religious groups deliberately disguise themselves and are often difficult to distinguish. Having said that I did not have a problem. The singing was glorious both from the principals and chorus and I shall see it all again in the cinema! Thank you ROH.

  7. Michael responded on 22 April 2013 at 4:13am Reply

    Love love Monastyrska. Please bring her back as soon as you can. Powerful, secure and extremely beautiful voice. Was there for her first Aida ( saw her twice ) and her fabulous Lady Macbeth. Can't wait to hear her again at the ROH.

  8. Sally Gibbons responded on 24 April 2013 at 3:13pm Reply

    This ghastly, dreary, grey, lifeless production ruined the opera for me. I enjoy any production that enhances the performance, but when the production interferes with my enjoyment of the work then it has failed, and this failed dismally. Even the addition of Domingo to the cast didn't raise it to any acceptable level, although he sang beautifully and movingly (whether he really is a baritone is perhaps something to be considered elsewhere, but it didn't really matter).

    Nabucco is not an easy work to stage, and because of its structure it actually needs an element of colour and melodrama to make it work. This really did not do it.

  9. I booked the last ticket 2 hours before the performance was due as lately I am not keen on biblical- themed Operas. Nevertheless I like Verdi and was looking forward to the performances from Domingo et all. I arrived a bit late so watched the first 40 min of the performance on a screen over a glass of wine. The overall production didn’t induce an extraordinary emotive effect on me but it was enjoyable. The performer that impressed me the most and I will be keeping an eye on, was Monastyrska as Abigail. She was sensational!

  10. penny .catt responded on 29 April 2013 at 5:33pm Reply

    Well, maybe I should claim a headache tonight .....pity I've already bought my ticket for the screening. I don't really like opera anyway....Help!!

  11. Hilary Manser responded on 30 April 2013 at 12:56am Reply

    With such wonderful voices on offer (and I want to hear much much more of Monastyrska) the designer managed to kill the production stone dead. As you couldn't tell the two sides apart there was no dramatic tension and really, a king in a flasher's mac? Perlease. Worst set and costumes I think I've ever seen at Covent Garden and I've been coming for over 50 years...

  12. penny .catt responded on 30 April 2013 at 6:51pm Reply

    With ref to my comment last night, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the opera.i thought the staging was super and I loved the costumes of the 1940s.the singing sounded fine to this newbie to the craft and I loved the 'behind the scenes' sections. I shall certainly go to the next operatic screening....

  13. Joseph Maguire responded on 30 April 2013 at 10:10pm Reply

    I have never seen Nabucco before on cineworld.. Wonderful!!! The chorus was wonderful. I love it!! Take my breath away. It was so sad but wonderful!! I want see it again. One of the music I have heard in act 3 or 4. Dont know what's the music called but it was beautiful.I was wonder when it's return in Royal Opera House? In 2014?

  14. David Glynn responded on 13 June 2013 at 1:19pm Reply

    The production was, I am afraid, vacuous and undramatic. It was impossible to tell the Israelites and the Assyrians apart - that did not exactly help the drama. The "destruction" of the wire-framed "god" was pathetic - a moment of complete bathos. I was told that the blocks in Act 1 were inspired by the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin; but since I have not been to Berlin, this reference passed me by. But it was all quite inoffensive and good to look at - which allowed one to concentrate on the magnificent singing.

  15. Ann-Marie responded on 12 February 2015 at 5:18pm Reply

    I live in Canada, and last night was the first opportunity of viewing the cinema recording of "Nabucco" with Placido Domingo, I had not seen this opera before, and was initially disappointed when I saw the costumes were a~la-1940's, I sighed and thought, here we go again, designers messing with beautiful past stagings of great operas.It thoroughly detracted from the beautiful Verdi music and singers.

    I agree with many of the comments viewed on your website, that the "greyness" of it all was awful, as were the sets. Auschwitz passed through my mind as I watched the dragging and stripping of Jews and wondered how some of the Jewish audience was reacting to this. BUT, the most important stunning performance by Monastyrska - what a voice! I can't wait to view her Lady Macbeth. I agree also it was very difficult to discern who were the Israelites and the Assyrians from time to time, as all the costume design got in the way of the interpretation.

    The orchestra sounded wonderful, and the chorus was fabulous,,plus of course the chance to hear Placido Domingo sing again - he is still one of the greatest opera singers in the world. As to the reference about his use of the teleprompter, this wasn't something I was aware of.

    PLEASE, PLEASE, designers of operas in the world, remember how the composer and the time settings were before you convert everything to the 21st century.

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