Verdi made his name with Nabucco in 1842. Early though it came in his career, it is no pushover. It demands two vital ingredients – a soprano accomplished enough to handle the role of Abigail and an alert chorus.

York Opera’s new production, in the hands of Clive Marshall, is a winner on both fronts. It would be hard to exaggerate the importance of Sharon Nicholson-Skeggs to the evening. As the renegade Abigail, she is worth the price of admission on her own. Based in Hull, she has not appeared with this company for several years. She has been missed.

Her fearless soprano, solid throughout more than two octaves, is ideal for Verdi and packs a dramatic punch. She is also an actress whose presence can never be ignored. Her Act 2 aria is steely yet quietly determined, and there is real menace in her later duet with Nabucco. She is moving, too, at the death.

Nabucco is played with considerable presence by Ian Thomson-Smith, whose baritone in full flow is an impressive instrument. His resonance tends to dip at softer moments: he would do well to open up more on his first entrance and in his rebuttal of Abigail.

The chorus, who essentially form the next most important element in the drama, is musically very sound and Va, Pensiero – the opera’s most famous number – is rousing indeed, kept properly soft until the climax.

Distracting moments of byplay within the chorus need to be eliminated, however, and focus kept on the principals wherever possible. Hamish Smith makes a resolute, if excitable, Ismael, with Rebecca Smith – a definite talent here – the engaging object of his affections as Fenena.

Steve Griffiths is an extremely reliable, if somewhat doleful, Zachariah, while Peter Skeggs is forceful as the High Priest of Baal, his opposite number. Hilary Dyson makes the utmost of her opportunities as Anna.

Margaret Griffiths keeps a firm hand on her orchestra, with an admirably decisive beat, even if one or two of her tempos are on the cautious side. But it is Nicholson-Skeggs who deserves the laurels in this powerful show.

• Further performances on Friday at 7.30pm and Saturday at 4pm. 01904 623568