Giuseppe Verdi


Born in 1813 in Roncole, Verdi became town music master in Busseto and married Margherita Barezzi, his patron’s daughter (their two children died in infancy). His wife died during the composition of Un giorno di regno (which was a total failure) and it was only with the performances of Nabucco in 1842 that his international reputation was sealed. His operatic models were Rossini, Mercadante and Donizetti. His expressive range was enormous reflected in Rigoletto, La traviata and Il trovatore. He married the soprano Giuseppina Strepponi in 1859 with whom he had been living for several years. He was to write Les Vêpres Siciliennes (1855) and Don Carlos (1867) for the Paris Opera and also for Paris a revised version of his 1847 version of Macbeth (1865). For St Petersburgh he wrote La forza del destino in 1862. Politically active in his middle years he was persuaded by Cavour to stand for the national parliament, was elected and eventually became a senator. The great works, The Requiem, Aida, Otello and Falstaff crowned a staggering musical achievement. When Verdi died in 1901, 28,000 people lined the streets of Milan for his funeral.