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Published on Oct 23, 2011
Va, pensiero (Va, pensiero, sull'ali dorate - Fly, thought, on wings of gold, in English also known as Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves) is a chorus from the third act of Nabucco (1842) by Giuseppe Verdi, with words by Temistocle Solera, inspired by Psalm 137. Known as Verdi's "Jewish" work of art, it recollects the story of Jewish exiles from Judea after the loss of the First Temple in Jerusalem. The opera with its powerful chorus established Verdi as a major composer in 19th century Italy.
Some scholars initially regarded it as an anthem for Italian patriots, who were seeking to unify their country in the years up to 1861 and free it from foreign control (the chorus's theme of exiles singing about their homeland, and its lines like O mia patria, si bella e perduta / "O my country, so lovely and so lost" was thought to have resonated with many Italians). However, much of modern scholarship has refuted this concept and it fails to see connections between Verdi's 1840s and 1850s operas and Italian nationalism, with the exception of some of the sentiments expressed in his 1843 opera, I Lombardi.
Va, pensiero, sull'ali dorate; va, ti posa sui clivi, sui colli, ove olezzano tepide e molli l'aure dolci del suolo natal!
Del Giordano le rive saluta, di Sionne le torri atterrate... Oh mia patria sì bella e perduta! Oh membranza sì cara e fatal!
Arpa d'or dei fatidici vati, perché muta dal salice pendi? Le memorie nel petto raccendi, ci favella del tempo che fu!
O simile di Sòlima ai fati traggi un suono di crudo lamento, o t'ispiri il Signore un concento che ne infonda al patire virtù