Giuseppe Verdi

Verdi was born in Le Roncole, near Busseto, Parma in 1813 and he died in Milan in 1901. He was the son of a poor innkeeper. He was taught by the local organist. The local grocer, who liked music, recognised his musical ability and offered to pay for him to go to Milan Conservatory, but the authorities would not admit him, partly because of poor pianoforte playing. He stayed on in Milan where he studied privately for 2 years. He returned to Busseto and married the grocer's daughter. He continued to study and directing the town's music activities. In 1839, his opera "Oberto" was produced at La Scala with some success. This was followed by a comic opera "Un giorno di Regno" which was a failure. Between 1838 and 1840, Verdi's wife and two children died. Overcome by grief he vowed never to compose again, but luckily he was persuaded to have a look at a libretto which inspired him and he wrote "Nabucco", his first real success.

Verdi's stature as one of the 2 or 3 greatest opera composers is unchallengeable. Though his technical mastery continually developed and was refined, and his powers of characterization became more sublte and expressive, the essential Verdi, - direct, noble and intense, remained unchanged from Nabucco to Falstaff. In recent years, his earlier works have been revived and have revealed their considerable merits. In operas like Rigoletto, La Traviata and Aida, Verdi put on the stage operatic characters who are as real as the characters in Shakespeare. His three Shakespeare operas are major achievements and his failure to compose King Lear, though he toyed with the idea for many years, must ever be regretted.


Oberto, Conte di San Bonifacio(1837-8)
Un giorno di regno(1840)
I Lombardi alla prima crociata(1842)
I Due Foscari(1844)
Giovanna D'Arco(1844)
I masnadieri(1846-7)
Il corsaro(1847-8)
La battaglia di Legnano(1848)
Luisa Miller(1849)
Il trovatore(1851-2)
La traviata(1853)
I Vespri Siciliani(1854)
Simone Boccanegra(1856-7)
Un ballo in maschera(1857-8)
La forza del destino(1861)
Don Carlos(1866)
He also wrote several choral works, chamber music and songs.

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