The Assyrian version of Va, pensiero (The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves)

Giuseppe Verdi established himself as a major 19th century Italian composer in 1842 with the opera Nabucco and its powerful chorus. 

The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves (Va, pensiero) which is a chorus from the third act of the opera Nabucco, because of its lines like “O my country, so beautiful, and lost”, resonated initially among Italian nationalists and later with other political activists around the world who were seeking to free their homeland from foreign control. This song has become a symbol of culture and patriotism around the world.

In 2016, this song caught the attention of Dr. Eden Naby and it‘s the relevance to the current condition of displaced Assyrians around the world. She proposed to the Mesopotamian Night team that we take on the task of translation, music score adaptation and performance of the song by the Mesopotamian Night chorus for our 2017 production. We started researching the subject and with the help of the conductor John Kendall Bailey we identified the original scores and then tasked Rabi Yosip Bet Yosip with translating the lyrics to Assyrian based on the original Italian text. He masterfully finished the translation and Sam Madoo helped with adaptation of the original score and transcription of vocal scores for Mesopotamian Night chorus. Then Rev. Samuel Khangaldy took on the task of training our choir group to sing the song. The Assyrian version of Va, pensiero will be premiered on October 7th 2017 at the California Theater.

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