King's Ransom

Giuseppe Verdi's opera Nabucco is set in biblical times, but its inciting incident suggests nothing less than a Liam Neeson thriller with swords and sandals: Nabucco, the king of Babylon, is plotting an assault on the high priest of Israel's Temple of Solomon, who holds Nabucco's daughter hostage. The trailer for a blockbuster like this practically films itself. But this being opera, the feud between the Babylonians and Israelites is mere pretext for a complicated and passionate love triangle among the captured daughter, her vindictive sister, and the Israeli soldier they both love. Spoiler alert: It won't end well. Composed in 1841, Nabucco launched Verdi into the operatic stratosphere, and its vocals are so punishing that, for Florida Grand Opera's latest mounting, its foremost roles are being shared by two actors apiece to allow adequate rest for their vocal cords. Best known for its "Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves," Nabucco will enjoy its first FGO production in 34 years. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Saturday at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, located at 201 SW Fifth Ave. in Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $21 to $200; club-level seats cost $139. Call 954-522-5334, or visit
Thu., Feb. 6, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 8, 7:30 p.m., 2014
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John Thomason
Contact: John Thomason