Giuseppe Verdi


Born: October 10th, 1813 in Le Roncole, Italy
Died: January 27th, 1901 (at age 88) in Milan, Italy
Nationality: Italian
Fields: Operas
Famous For: Writing several famous operas that are frequently performed world-wide

Giuseppe Verdi was a very successful Italian Romantic composer who is famous for his operas. His most famous operas include “Aida,” “Falstaff” and “La Traviata.” Verdi is well-known for his talent for creating melodies, as well as his unique usage of theatrical effect.

Early Life

Verdi was born in Parma, Italy. His father was a local innkeeper and his mother labored as a spinner. Verdi developed his musical talents at a very young age when his family moved to Busseto. There, he started to learn musical composition. Verdi applied for entrance to the renowned Milan Conservatory in 1832, but was turned down because of his age. As a result, he started studying with Vincenzo Lavigna, a very famous composer.

First Opera and Tragedy

In 1833, he starting working in Italy’s music industry when was employed as a conductor for Busseto’s Philharmonic Society. Along with composing music, he also earned a living playing the organ. In 1836, Verdi married Margherita Barezzi.

When he was 25, Verdi went back to Milan, while there he finished “Oberto,” his first opera, with the assistance of Giulio Ricordi. The opera’s debut took place at La Scala, a beautiful Milan opera house. While he was working on the opera, Verdi experienced the first of several personal tragedies. His first child, a daughter, died in infancy, and one year later, his second child, a son, also died as an infant.

After Oberto, Verdi composed ” Un giorno di regno,” a comic opera and it premiered in September, 1840, in Milan, at the Teatro alla Scala. His second opera was not well received by critics or audiences. This rejection was made worse when his wife died in June of 1840. She was only 26.

Earning Recognition

Verdi was very disheartened after he lost his family. He struggled with finding the inspiration to create more music. However, he quickly found comfort in his work, by creating two, four-part operas “I Lombardi” and “Nabucco.” Both works earned Verdi a large amount of success. As a result, he had earned a very prominent standing in Italy’s operatic community. His refusal to use conventional Italian opera for unified acts and integrated scenes only added to Verdi’s fame.

From the 1850’s to the 1870’s, he continued to achieve fame and success. He composed several popular operatic series such as “Rigoletto” in 1851, “Il trovatore” in 1853, “La traviata” in 1853, “Don Carlos” in 1867 and “Aida” in 1871. Four years later, he completed “Requiem,” also known as “Messa da Requiem,” and this was intended to be his last composition. Verdi retired shortly thereafter.

His Final Works

In spite of Verdi’s retirement plans, by the mid-1880’s, he collaborated with composer Arrigo Boito to finish “Otello.” It was finished in 1886, and it was first performed at the Teatro alla Scala in February of 1887. It received much praise all through Europe. Today it is still considered to be one of the greatest operas in history.

He followed this success with “Falstaff,” yet another collaboration with Boito. It was finished in 1890. It was a comedic adaptation of Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor” and “Henry IV” plays. It debuted at La Scala in February of 1893. It also was very successful and the opera is still very popular today.

Death and Legacy

Giuseppe Verdi died in Milan, in January of 1901. This composer completed twenty-five operas during his career. He is still regarded as one of the finest composers of all time. Verdi’s operas are believed to have been performed more often than most other operas.