Giuseppe Verdi

Video and Audio

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    Making of Opera: Nabucco - Costume Design

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    Making of Opera: Nabucco - Costume Shop

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    Making of Opera: Nabucco - Rehearsal Process

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    Making of Opera: Nabucco - Set Construction

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    Making of Opera: Nabucco - Set Design

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    Making of Opera: Nabucco - Va Pensiero

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    Making of Opera: Nabucco - An Introduction



Biography

Opera Composer Guiseppe Verdi was born in Roncole, Italy on October 9th, 1813. His family were small landowners and innkeepers. Verdi's interest in music was apparent early, as he began helping the local church organist at age seven. At age twelve he began formal studies of the organ in nearby Busseto with the main church organist, whose assistant he became four years later. At age nineteen he tried to enter the conservatory in Milan, but was not accepted. He then began formal studies with composer Vincenzo Lavigna, former La Scala musician. When he returned to Busseto he was denied the post of music director, but succeeded in obtaining the appointment a year later. He then married his patron's daughter, Margherita Barezzi, in 1836. Their two children died in infancy, and she herself died in 1840 after they had moved to Milan.

Verdi's career was continual series of failures, followed by successes. His first opera was refused performance in Parma, but later presented in Milan, where La Scala commissioned hi to write additional operas. His next opera failed, but Nabucco in 1842 was a complete success. With his reputation now established he traveled across Europe and the New World, writing operas which were generally well received.

Many operas and plays of that era had marked political messages, and Verdi was able express his political views through his operatic libretti. He often had trouble mounting productions because of troubles with the censors. For the next six years he churned out eleven operas, which were premiered in all the major opera houses of Europe. His soaring melodic lines, together with dramatic and rich orchestral scoring conveyed the full force of the sombre and dramatic stories of his operas.

He married Giuseppina Strepponi, an opera singer in 1859,with whom he had been living for several years. After continued success in Paris with Sicilian Vespers, Masked Ball, and La Forza Del Destino, he returned to Busetto, where he was elected to the provincial parliament. He ultimately served in the national parliament, and later as a Senator.

After writing such tragic operas as Don Carlo, Aida, he turned from opera to write the Requiem, in honor of the poet Manzoni. He also wrote some chamber music during this period, none of it very well received. He was prevailed upon to write another opera, Othello which was completedin 1886, when he was seventythree. His last opera, and the only comedy was Falstaff, which he completed at age 80. He died in 1901, in Milan, revered, honored, and wealthy. At his funeral 28,000 people lined the streets to pay homage.
Giuseppe Verdi

Compositions

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