«I would have gone down on my knee before him if we were allowed to worship men.» With these words Giuseppe Verdi described his first impulse upon meeting Alessandro Manzoni in Milan in June 1868. Many readers are familiar with Manzoni’s great novel,
The Betrothed (I Promessi Sposi), the work that elicited Verdi’s extravagant reverence for its author. Before turning to write a novel, however, Manzoni composed two plays,
The Count of Carmagnola (1820) and
Adelchi (1822). Both plays broke free of the constraints of the neo-classical stage, and embraced the spirit of the new Romantic drama.
Alessandro Manzoni, Two Plays makes these tragedies available in a fresh English translation.