Verdi’s Opera “I Lombardi” and the Music of Robert Greenberg

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Robert Greenberg provides an in-depth exploration of Verdi’s Opera “I Lombardi” and how it influenced the great composer’s later works.

Verdi’s Opera “I Lombardi”

“I Lombardi” is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian-language libretto by Temistocle Solera, based on La Gerusalemme liberata by Tasso. It was Verdi’s eleventh opera and was first performed at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan on 11 February 1843.

History and context

“I Lombardi” is an opera by Giuseppe Verdi, based on the epic poem “The Lombards in Italy” by Paolo Giovio. The libretto was written by Temistocle Solera. The opera was first performed at La Scala in Milan on 11 February 1843.

The opera is set in the late seventh century, and tells the story of the struggle of the Lombard people to free themselves from the domination of the Byzantine Empire. The music of “I Lombardi” is characterized by Verdi’s characteristic melodic style and comprises some of his most famous arias and choruses, including “Gerusalemme liberata”, “Qui la voce sua soave”, and “Vittoria, Vittoria!”.

Robert Greenberg is one of the world’s foremost authorities on classical music, and has been teaching courses on Verdi’s operas for many years. In this course, he provides an in-depth exploration of “I Lombardi”, discussing its history, context, music, and legacy.

The music

Verdi’s I Lombardi is a pivotal work in the composer’s career. It was his fifth opera, and while it was not his first success, it was the first to solidify his reputation as a major force in Italian opera. The music of I Lombardi is characterized by Verdi’s trademark melodies and orchestrations, as well as by his innovative use of choral writing.

The opera opens with a rousing overture featuring an extended brass fanfare. This is followed by the first of Verdi’s famous “Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves” moments, in which the slaves sing of their hope for freedom. The next several scenes alternate between solo arias and duets, and large-scale choral numbers. One of the highlights of the opera is the Act III finale, in which all of the major characters come together to sing a stirring hymn to freedom.

While I Lombardi is not one of Verdi’s best-known operas, it contains some of his most memorable music. If you are new to Verdi’s work, this opera is a great place to start exploring his unique genius.

Robert Greenberg

Professor Greenberg will be presenting a talk on Verdi’s “I Lombardi” as well as the music of Robert Greenberg. This promises to be an interesting talk, as Professor Greenberg is one of the world’s foremost authorities on the music of Verdi.

His approach to the music

Greenberg sees the overall structure of the work in terms of dramatic tension and musical argument. In his view, the crucial moments are those in which the music makes an assertion or poses a question, and these are the moments to which he pays closest attention. He hears the work as a dialectic between two musical forces, one “static and eternal” (the chorus), the other “ever-changing and always individual” (the soloists).

His work with other composers

Robert Greenberg has worked with many other composers over the course of his career. Some of his more notable collaborations include:

Verdi’s Opera “I Lombardi” – Greenberg was commissioned to write a new English version of the libretto for this opera.

The music of Robert Greenberg – Greenberg has written music for many different ensembles and performers, including the San Francisco Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Kronos Quartet.

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