Although Verdi began sketching the music for Il corsaro in 1846, a lengthy illness forced him to postpone further work. He finally completed the score in early 1848, but the revolutions of that year delayed its first performance. When it finally premiered on 25 October at the Teatro Grande of Trieste, Verdi was in Paris and did not participate as usual in the production, which was poorly received. Though more successful in subsequent stagings, Il corsaro was soon eclipsed by the operas of the noted "trilogy" and fell from the repertory.
The full score of "Il corsaro", published here for the first time, as well as recent revivals based on pre-publication proofs of this critical edition, reveal the work to be far more rewarding than even Verdi himself would later admit. Showing the gradual consolidation of Verdi's mature style through his contacts with French opera, "Il corsaro" well repays the renewed attention it is receiving.