Tragic opera in three acts, on a libretto by Francesco Maria Piave
, taken from The Corsair
by George Byron.Première:
Trieste, Teatro Grande, October 25th, 1848.
The Greek Corsair Corrado manages to infiltrate the camp of the Turks, commanded by the pasha Seid. He is disguised and is not recognised, but his corsairs attack the camp before he gives the signal. He is wounded, discovered and arrested. Gulnara, one of Seid's concubines, saves him. But when the Corsair finally manages to return to his island refuge, he finds his beloved Medora dying of grief: the false news of his death had arrived before him. Corrado, overcome, throws himself into the sea and disappears among the billowing waves.
When Verdi signed the contract with the publisher Lucca for an opera to present in one of the major Italian theatres in 1848, he could not yet have imagined what a horrible year that year of upheaval was to be: the five days of Milan, the termination of Austrian domination in Venice and the first war of independence when Carlo Alberto di Savoia declared war on Austria. The libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, taken from The Corsair by George Byron, had been ready for some time when Verdi finally composed the music during his stay in Paris. He gave the score to the publisher Lucca in February 1848, telling him he could do with it what he would, whether in Italy or elsewhere, showing a total lack of interest for his creation. Il corsaro finally opened to the public on the stage of the Teatro Grande in Trieste on October 25th, 1848, with no great success, a situation which confirmed Verdi's lack of interest for his work.