Les vêpres siciliennes
|Les vêpres siciliennes|
A scene from the Italian version of the opera
(Lithograph by Roberto Focosi)
|Based on||Original 1838 libretto for Donizetti's Le duc d'Albe|
|Premiere||13 June 1855
Les vêpres siciliennes (The Sicilian Vespers) is a
Today it is better-known in its post-1861 Italian version as
After Verdi's first grand opera for the
Verdi began discussions with the Opéra but negotiations were stalled by the 1848 revolutions and the composer broke them off for a period of time. It was not until February 1852 (while Il trovatore was still being prepared) that he returned to Paris and entered into a contract to write an opera, the libretto to be prepared by Scribe, who was given a deadline for a "treatment" to be delivered on 30 June 1853  with rehearsals to begin in mid-1854 and the opera staged in November/December of that year. Verdi was guaranteed the choice of suitable artists as well as forty performances in the ten months following the premiere. 
In July 1852, Verdi had written to Scribe outlining his hopes:
When Scribe missed his July 1853 deadline, Verdi went to Paris to negotiate directly and it was then that the librettist proposed a solution, using a revised version of the libretto for
However, this "meant that Verdi was writing his first (original) opéra at a point at which the genre was in a state of flux".
Verdi spent 1854 forcing Scribe to make revisions while writing the music, "complaining about the sheer length demanded by audiences at the Opéra".
 Overall, it was a frustrating time for the composer, especially in dealing with Scribe's 5th act. The librettist was unresponsive to Verdi's pleas for revisions, until finally, he was forced in late 1854 (with no premiere in sight and the mysterious disappearance from rehearsals of