The Start of Something Big: Verdi's 'Oberto'


THE HIT SINGLE: "In his presence …"

In Oberto, as in many of his later operas, Verdi uses a powerful ensemble to set up the drama's key conflicts. Act One ends with a quartet and chorus ("A quell' aspetto" -- "In his presence") in which Oberto (bass-baritone Michele Pertusi) vents his hatred for Riccardo (tenor Vater Borin), while Riccardo meets Oberto's challenge, Leonora (soprano Maria Guleghina) supports her father, and Cuniza (mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Gubanova) feels her love for Riccardo turning to hate.

THE B SIDE: "The horror of betrayal"

In Act Two, Oberto expresses both his rage toward Riccardo, and by extension a father's overwhelming love for his daughter -- a dominant theme in many other Verdi operas -- in the aria "L'orror del tradimento" ("The horror of betrayal").