The opera was Verdi’s first to be an instant and tremendous success with the public Verdi said that “with this opera, my artistic career may be said to have begun”. Nabucco’s
success helped the 28-year-old composer to overcome the disastrous premieres of his first two operas and a personal tragedy and to permanently establish his reputation as a composer.
This production gives unusual treatment to the biblical story about the defeat of the Jews by the Babylonian King Nabucco and the conflict between the two nations. The story is transferred to the mid-20th century, when the dictatorial regimes in Europe (Hitler in Germany, Mussolini in Italy, and Stalin in the USSR) severely persecuted and repressed the Jewish people.
The action is set at a metro station, where people come to hide from hostilities, bombing and the cruelty of the outside world. But the place gives an ambivalent impression: on the one hand it is safe, while on the other hand the closed space makes the characters’ inner and outward conflict still more piercing and tragic.