Essa lo riconosce, ma lo respinge e di fronte alla sua insistenza non esita a prendergli il pugnale per difendere il proprio onore. Ernani irrompe in scena per proteggere Elvira, ma il re lo riconosce e lo esorta alla fuga. Carlo infine concede ad Ernani di scappare. Ernani sconvolto si rivela ed offre come dono nuziale la sua testa. Non riuscendo a scoprire Ernani, Carlo lascia il castello intimando ad Elvira di seguirlo.
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Don Juan has lost his title and wealth during a recent civil war and has taken the name of Ernani. The bandits ask why he seems so gloomy. He tells them he longs for his lover, Elvira, but she is being forced to marry her older uncle, Don Ruy Gomez de Silva. Ernani and the bandits devise a plan to abduct and rescue Elvira. Distraught over the arranged marriage, Elvira sings a song about her love for Ernani. Don Carlo, King of Spain, enters her room disguised as a peasant. He confesses his love for her, but she recognizes him and tells him that her heart belongs to Ernani.
As the king prepares to abduct her, Ernani arrives and begins fighting him. Moments later, Silva walks in the room. Before recognizing the king, he challenges both men to a duel. Don Carlo dismisses Ernani. Before taking leave, Ernani whispers to Elvira to prepare to flee.
Silva allows him to stay inside the palace. Ernani finds Elvira and she is overjoyed - she thought he was dead. She tells Ernani that she planned to kill herself at the altar. As the two embrace, Silva catches them and becomes furious. Moments later, it is announced that the king has arrived, and Silva tells Ernani that because he granted him shelter, he will keep Ernani safe from the king.
Silva hides Ernani before he speaks with the king. Silva is intensely questioned by the king, as the king suspects he may be harboring the criminal. Ernani makes a deal with Silva that if the two work together to stop the king, Ernani will give a horn to Silva. Whenever Silva sounds the horn, Ernani will take his own life.
Silva agrees to help Ernani under the proposed conditions and prepares his men for battle with the king. He vows to himself to change his life for the better. Don Carlo overhears their plot, and when he is crowned as the Holly Roman Emperor, he immediately orders the conspirators and noblemen to be executed and the commoners to be imprisoned. Ernani steps forward and reveals his true identity as Don Juan of Aragon.
Then with a sudden change of heart, Don Carlo grants forgiveness to Elvira and Ernani. During their celebrations, a loud horn can be heard in the distance. As if suddenly hit by a freight train, Ernani remembers his oath with Silva. Moments later, the horn sounds again and Silva enters the room. Ernani sends Elvira away and asks Silva for a few more moments with his lover. Silva demands that Ernani fulfill his promise and hands him a dagger. As Elvira comes back into the room, Ernani plunges the dagger deep within his heart.
Elvira rushes to him and holds him in her arms as he dies.
Ernani (Verdi, Giuseppe)
Composition history[ edit ] Giuseppe Verdi Following the success of both Nabucco and I Lombardi , Verdi was approached by many opera companies wanting to commission him to write an opera for their houses. Rather than prepare another for La Scala, he was interested in a commission for two operas for the —44 season one of which would be I Lombardi which came from the President of the Teatro la Fenice in Venice, Marquis Nanni Mocenigo. However, the composer was only willing to accept the terms which he proposed: 12, Austrian lire to be paid after the first performance, not the third as proposed by Venice Verdi recalled what had happened to Un giorno di regno with its one and only performance. Amongst other stipulations, he demanded the right to choose his own subject, his own librettist, and also to pay him directly, as well as refusing to accept the requirement that a full orchestral score be available in advance. In addition, he had the right to choose the singers from the assembled company for that season.