Act I: Jerusalem
Jews are praying that the Assyrian hordes who have laid siege to
Jerusalem will be scattered and that the Throne of David will be freed
of the impious. The high priest Zaccaria tells of hopes for their
deliverance – the Jews have taken Fenena, Nabucco´s youngest daughter,
and she will act as a powerful bargaining weapon in the talks with the King of Babylon.
The commander Ismaele brings news that Nabucco has
launched an attack. Zaccaria wishes to entrust Ismaele with guarding
Fenena, but it turns out that the young people are in love with each
other… Ismaele swears he will free his beloved.
burst in, headed by Abigaille, Nabucco´s eldest daughter who is also in love with Ismaele… Abigaille proclaims Nabucco´s glory. Finally the King of Babylon himself enters. Fenena rushes to her father then to
Ismaele, but Zaccaria manages to catch her and raises his dagger over
her. Nabucco tries to gain time, while Abigaille hopes that now her
sister and rival will die. Suddenly Ismaele snatches the dagger from
Zaccaria and frees Fenena. Defeated, the Jews are overpowered by the
Assyrians; they curse Ismaele.
Act II: The impious one
again Nabucco departs with his warriors for Judea, leaving Fenena on
the throne. Meanwhile Abigaille has managed to obtain and destroy a document which states that in fact she is not Nabucco´s daughter but
the daughter of slaves. The high priest of Baal informs her that Fenena
has freed the captive Jews and that conspirators have already spread
news of Nabucco´s death in order to proclaim Abigaille queen.
proclaims a new miracle of the God of Israel – Fenena, daughter of the
King of Babylon, has adopted the Jewish faith. Once again the Levites
curse Ismaele, but Anna tells them that Fenena, whom he saved, is from
now on one of them, and so Ismaele is pardoned.
Abdallo tells of the
death of Nabucco and implores Fenena to flee, but she has no intention
of surrendering the throne to her sister. As Abigaille tries to seize
the crown from her Nabucco appears. The Assyrian warriors again swear
allegiance to him. Nabucco orders the destruction of the Jews but
Fenena tries to save them, declaring that she is one of them.
Nabucco declares himself God. Heaven punishes him by driving him insane. The crown is now in Abigaille´s hands.
Act III: The prophecy
triumph. The insane Nabucco enters. Abigaille deceives him into
surrendering the ring with the seal in order to ensure the death
sentence on the people of Israel is carried out. Nabucco understands
that this means the death of Fenena too. In an attempt to save his
daughter he reminds Abigaille of her slave roots; in return Abigaille
shows him the fragments of the tablet stating her true birth. Nabucco
is taken into custody.
Imprisoned by the Babylonians, the Jews
recall their lost homeland. Zaccaria foretells the salvation of Israel
and the fall of Babylon.
Act IV: The broken idol
his dungeon cell Nabucco hears cries of "Death to Fenena!" In despair
he rejects the idols of Babylon and turns to the God of Israel.
Together with Nabucco´s loyal warriors, Abdallo frees his king and
restores his crown.
The Jews are awaiting execution. Nabucco
appears, proclaiming the God of Israel. Coming together, the Jews and
Assyrians join him. Abigaille has taken some poison. With her dying
words she begs forgiveness of Fenena and turns to Jehovah.