Only 14 years after the world premiere of Victor Hugo’s thoroughly romantic play, an occasion that entered theatre history as the „Battle for HERNANI“, Giuseppe Verdi based one of his early masterpieces on this material. Regarding its form, ERNANI already suggested the famous three: RIGOLETTO, LA TRAVIATA, IL TROVATORE. A love tragedy takes place before the backdrop of an actual historical event (the crowning of Charles V as emperor at Aachen Cathedral). Elvira, niece and fiancée of the Spanish grandee Don Ruy Gomez de Silva, loves the outlaw Ernani, ostracised as a rebel and a bandit. Silva joins forces with him against a more powerful rival, Don Carlos. Ernani pledges his life and has to forfeit it on the day of the wedding fixed by the generous Emperor. The four protagonists – soprano, tenor, baritone and bass – are already very typical Verdi-characters: Their musical language is one of arias in several parts, with their ariosos and cabalettas. They are joined together in duets and ensembles. And the rousing, largely monophonic choir, a kind of trademark for Verdi since NABUCCO, is also present.
With ERNANI, Oper Bonn contiues the cycle of early Verdi-operas that began eight years ago with GIOVANNA D’ARCO.