Verdi (1813 - 1901)
: October 9, 1813, Lombardy, Italy
: January 27, 1901, Milan, Italy
Giuseppe Verdi was an Italian Romantic composer primarily known for his operas. Verdi is considered to be one of the most influential composers of operas of the nineteenth century, and dominated the Italian scene after Bellini, Donizetti and Rossini. His works are frequently performed in opera houses throughout the world and, transcending the boundaries of the genre, some of his themes have long since taken root in popular culture.
Born into a middle-class family, Verdi studied composition in secondary school. In 1832, he was rejected from the Milan Conservatory (he is too old, and his piano technique is unorthodox), so he took private composition lessons in Milan. His opera debut was made in 1838, when Oberto, Conte di Bonifacio, was performed at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan.
Verdi’s most productive years where during 1842-1853. In this 12-year span, Verdi composed and produced 17 operas, including some of his most famous works: Macbeth
(premiered in Florence, 1847), Rigoletto
(Venice, 1851), Il Trovatore
(Rome, 1853), and La Traviata
(Venice 1853). Verdi later calls this period his “anni di galera” (years as a galley-slave).
Moved by the death of compatriot Alessandro Manzoni, Verdi wrote in 1874 the Messa da Requiem in his honour, regarded as a masterpiece of the oratorio tradition and a testimony to his capacity outside the field of opera.
Visionary and politically engaged, he remains – alongside Garibaldi and Cavour – an emblematic figure of the reunification process of the Italian peninsula (the Risorgimento).