Career Building: Verdi's 'Nabucco,' from La Scala


THE HIT SINGLE: "Va, pensiero"

This emotional chorus might just be the most famous music Verdi ever composed.  Sung in Part Three by the exiled Hebrews in Babylon, it includes the words "my country, so beautiful and lost," and became associated with the "Risorgimento," the 19th-century movement for Italian unity and independence.

THE B-SIDE: "Anch'io dischiuso in giorno"

The remarkable complexity of the character Abigaille (sung by soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska) is on full display at the top of Part Two.  She begins with a furious recitative, after learning that she's not really Nabucco's daughter, and has been passed over for the throne in favor of Fenena.  Yet she continues with this wistful aria, as she remembers her love for Ismaele, and a time when she was able to experience true joy.