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Giuseppe Verdi

(1813 - 1901)

Verdi was born in Le Roncole, a village near Busseto in the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza.

The baptismal register, on 11 October, lists him as being "born yesterday", but since days were often considered to begin at sunset, this could have meant either 9 or 10 October 1813.

By the age of seven, he had become an organist at San Michele Arcangelo.

Verdi studied composition in Milan with Vincenzo Lavigna, a composer and the maestro at La Scala.

He bounced back and forth between Milan and Busseto until he was named maestro of the Busseto Philharmonic in March 1836. By May 1836, he had married childhood sweetheart, Margherita Barezzi.

He returned to Milan several years later, this time with a young family.

Verdi's first opera, Oberto, was brought to the stage at La Scala in November 1839 and ran for multiple performances.

His opera Un Giorno was a complete failure.

But the director at La Scala kept faith with Verdi, who later declared that with his next work, Nabucco , "my musical career really began."

Verdi's interest was revived by the biblical story of Nebuchadnezzar which led to his first major success in 1842 with the opera Nabucco.

The opening of Nabucco was a triumph.

Verdi was famous, commanding a higher fee than any other composer of his time.

By the mid 1850s his operas, including Rigoletto, Il Trovatore and La Traviata, had become both musically and dramatically richer and he was internationally famous.

All together he composed thirty two operas, many of which hold prime of place in the world of opera today.

Verdi became involved in the movement for Italian unity and independence and for a short time he was a senator in the Italian Parliament.

He founded the Rest Home for musicians in Milan which he opened a few weeks before his death.

While staying at a hotel in Milan, Verdi had a stroke on January 21, 1901.

He grew gradually more feeble and died six days later, on January 27, 1901.

Verdi's death left all Italy in mourning.

He still is revered throughout the music world as the greatest of operatic composers and, more particularly, in Italy as a patriotic hero and champion of human rights.



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