I due Foscari, Opera by G. Verdi
The opera I due Foscari combines Lord Byron's passion and emotion with the boundless talent and power of Giuseppe Verdi. It received its world premiere on 3 November 1844 at the Teatro Argentina in Rome, and it was one of the Italian maestro's earliest successes. This historical drama, along with Verdi's other opera from the same year, Ernani, would dominate the entire decade in the composer's career, up until his next major success, Il trovatore, in 1853. I due Foscari, on the stage of Gran Teatro La Fenice in Venice, shows the early signs of Verdi’s impending greatness.
Lord Byron's well-known drama The Two Foscari forms the basis of Verdi’s masterpiece. The task to transform the English poet’s play for the operatic stage fell upon Francesco Maria Piave, a renowned librettist and frequent collaborator for Verdi. An early effort to stage I due Foscari in Venice's La Fenice was refused because the text was seen as objectionable to the Venetian Republic’s aristocratic families. At Rome’s Teatro Argentina, the project found a more hospitable home. After receiving initial approval, Verdi unpacked his creative vision and grew more confident in his role as author. He gave Piave the go-ahead to change Byron's original sanguine mood and add excitement and narrative ornaments to the libretto. Verdi for his part produced a work that was rife with drama, conflict, and passion.
In I due Foscari, the action takes place in Venice in the fifteenth century. Francesco Foscari, the Doge of Venice, and his son Jacopo Foscari, who has been charged with murder, are the two men from the opera’s title. The Doge is struggling to balance his responsibilities as king and parent when the Council of Ten convicts Jacopo to exile. Will he be able to safeguard both his son and his kingship by deft political maneuvering, or will terrible events cause him to lose both? One of Verdi's most exceptional early masterpieces comes to life on the stage of Gran Teatro La Fenice in Venice.