Due Foscari, I (The Two Foscari)
  • Giuseppe Verdi. Tragedia lirica in three acts. 1844.
  • Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, after the play by Byron.
  • First performance at the Teatro Argentina, Rome, on 3rd November 1844.
CHARACTERS
Francesco Foscari, Doge of Venice baritone
Jacopo Foscari, his son tenor
Lucrezia Contarini, wife of Jacopo Foscari soprano
Jacopo Loredano, member of the Council of Ten bass
Barbarigo, senator, member of the Giunta tenor
Pisana, confidante of Lucrezia Contarini soprano
Officer of the Council of Ten tenor
Doge’s Servant tenor

Jacopo Foscari, illegally returning to Venice from exile, awaits the decision of the Council of Ten on his fate. His wife Lucrezia pleads with the old Doge, learning, however, that the Council has decreed exile. The Doge himself is divided between public duty and family loyalty. In prison Jacopo laments his fate, railing against his enemies. His father, the Doge, comes to bid him farewell and Jacopo Loredano, an enemy of the Foscari, comes to lead Jacopo before the Council, which condemns him, in spite of his pleas and those of his wife and children. At carnival time Jacopo is taken to the barge that will carry him into exile. Another confesses to the murder of which Jacopo was accused, but, as Lucrezia tells her father-in-law, the confession is too late, since Jacopo is now dead. The old man is forced by Loredano to resign his power, to be replaced as Doge.

The dark tragedy, set in 15th-century Venice, includes well enough known tenor arias in Jacopo’s Ah sì, ch’io senta ancora… Dal più remoto esiglio (Ah yes, now I feel again… From further exile) and Odio solo, ed odio atroce (I hate alone and fiercely hate), and a particularly moving role for the 80-year old Doge.