|Premiere:||Milan, March 9, 1842|
Verdi's first truly successful opera opens in ancient Jerusalem, as King Nabucco of Babylon, whose daughter Fenena is a hostage to the Jews, invades and sacks the Jewish Temple. Installed by Nabucco as Regent of Jerusalem and inspired by her love for the Jew Ismaele, Fenena converts to Judaism and frees the Jewish prisoners. The slave Abigaille, who claims to be Fenena's sister, also loves Ismaele and masterminds a vengeful plot to imprison Nabucco and steal the crown of Jerusalem for herself. In his cell, Nabucco dreams that Fenena is about to be executed, but he escapes in time to free her and also converts to Judaism, as a repentant Abigaille poisons herself.