"Va, pensiero" (also known as “Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves”) from Act 3 of Giuseppe Verdi’s Italian opera Nabucco. The chorus in Nabucco is a leading character and becomes an essential carrier of the plot. The composer Rossini was sitting in the audience with Verdi during a performance of Nabucco and told him, "You have composed a perfect aria for the chorus!"
This is one of my favourites. I did find a version recorded at the Verona Arena on 24/52015. Italy entered WW1 on 23/5/1915 & this recording had 4600 Choristers from all over Italy perform it commeroating the 100 year anniversary.
It doesnt ahve the best sound quality but more than makes up for that with the raw emotion of Italy and its WW1 history. The white war, (as it was called) was vicious and there is immense emoition in the performance. Made my neck tingle and I shed a few tears.
I wish I could have read this column several years ago, before my wife and I saw Nabucco in Bologna, Italy. At the end of "Va, pensiero" someone in the audience enthusiastically shouted, "Viva Italia!" Hearing loud commentary from Italian audiences isn't the biggest surprise you can have, but those particular words were surprising. When we later learned the historical importance of that chorus, it became understandable. I don't think we can ever improve on the experience from that particular performance.
When I was at the Casa Verdi in Milan in 2014, I looked upon the composer’s tomb, and imagined the funeral ceremonies preceding the burial, including Toscanini conducting Va, pensiero. I also visited the Toscanini/Horowitz tomb elsewhere in Milan.
Its difficult to listen to this without being moved. I especially enjoyed the At Home version - Va pensiero - wonderful.
Its difficult to listen to this without being moved. I especially enjoyed the At Home version - Va Pensiero - wonderful
A firm favourite of mine thanks