Opera Scotland

Due Foscari I due Foscari; The Two Foscari

Music

Giuseppe Verdi (born Roncole, 9/10 October 1813; died Milan, 27 January 1901)

Text

Francesco Maria Piave

Source

Drama The Two Foscari (1821) by George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824)

 

Premières

First Performance: Rome (Teatro Argentina), 3 November 1844.

First Performance in UK: London (Her Majesty's Theatre), 10 April 1847.

First Performance in Scotland: Edinburgh (King's Theatre) 16 August, 1993.

Scottish Opera première: as above

 

Background

It is well known thar Verdi based four operas on works by Schiller and three on Shakespeare. That he used Lord Byron for two plots is less well known, probably because the two operas are early works which have not been revived with consistent success. The second, Il corsaro, was even dismissed by Verdi, and in spite of very attractive sections is rarely performed. Byron's drama, The Corsair, was, it seems, written in ten days during 1813. I due Foscari, Verdi's sixth opera, is a more consistent work which has been successfully produced in modern times by several of the major British companies. Even so, none of those stagings has been revived, and it has not entered the general repertoire. Both Byron's source tragedies, indeed all his dramatic works, seem to have been consigned to oblivion.

 

Main Characters

Francesco Foscari, Doge of Venice (baritone)

Jacopo Foscari, his son (tenor)

Lucrezia Contarini, Jacopo's wife (soprano)

Jacopo Loredano, of the Council of Ten (bass)

 

Plot Summary

Venice 1457. Francesco is Doge of Venice, but has made enemies during his long career (he is now past eighty). His son Jacopo has been exiled. Loredano is the leader of the anti-Foscari faction and plots their downfall. Jacopo is accused of treason and murder, and brought back from exile to face a further trial. In spite of the pleadings of Francesco and, especially, Lucrezia, the Council sentences Jacopo to further exile. By the time Jacopo's innocence is proved he has been sent aboard ship, and weakened by his privations, and heart-broken at leaving Venice again, he dies. Loredano and his colleagues now move for Francesco's resignation, but on hearing of his son's death the old man also dies.

The Cast

Attendant
 on the Council of Ten
Barbarigo
 a Senator
Francesco Foscari
 Doge of Venice
Jacopo Foscari
 Francesco's son
Jacopo Loredano
 member of the Council of Ten
Lucrezia Contarini
 Jacopo's wife
Pisana
 Lucrezia's confidant
Servant
 of the Doge

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