Find out more about Verdi's Nabucco. Watch and listen to different recordings and download your favourite.
The Fast and Friendly Guide to Verdi
Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901) was one of the few composers whose genius was recognised while he was alive. Verdi's reputation as the greatest of all Italian opera composers is beyond dispute.
Life and Music
- Giuseppe Verdi was born October 10th 1813 near Busseto.
- By the age of seven he was organist at San Michele Arcangelo, the local church, and by 13, assistant conductor of the Busseto Orchestra.
- The young Verdi failed the Milan Conservatory entrance exams in 1832. Private tuition and an appointment as a municipal music master in Busseto kept things bubbling along, but just as La Scala in Milan accepted his first surviving opera from 1839, Oberto, personal and professional disaster struck.
- In less than two years he lost both of his young children and then his wife, Margherita, to illness. Then his second opera, Un Giorno di Regno (1840), bombed and all future performances were cancelled.
- Choruses from Nabucco (1842) and the later I Lombardi alla Prima Crociata (1843) were adopted as anthems of Italian freedom-fighters.
- In 1847 he fell in love with Giuseppina Strepponi, a soprano, who would remain his devoted companion until her death 50 years later.
- At the height of his fame, despite having successfully produced only two operas during the 1860s - La Forza del Destino and Don Carlo - Verdi was commissioned to write an opera to mark the opening of Egyptian ruler Khedive Ismail's new opera house in Cairo. Verdi missed the deadline (Rigoletto was used instead), but a year later Aida was finished.
- In February 1887 he triumphantly re-emerged with one of his very finest works, Otello.
- His death on January 21st 1901 from a stroke was marked by the kind of national grief associated with the passing of royalty.
Did you know?
Verdi's relationship with Giuseppina Strepponi caused a scandal by their living together outside wedlock until they finally married in 1859.
Find out more about Verdi's Requiem. Watch and listen to different recordings and download your favourite.
Shining examples of Verdi's orchestral writing from his mammoth operatic output. Drive Featured Album, 4 February 2013
A 1979 BBC rendition of Verdi's Macbeth, starring Peter Glossop, Rita Hunter and supported by the BBC Concert Orchestra
Verdi's best music, according to star tenor Rolando Villazón - he's even drawn us a fantastic cartoon of the man himself!
Giuseppe Verdi, composer of Nabucco and Aida, was an inspired tunesmith who took opera by storm with a stream of hit titles.
The Royal Opera House is searching for singers to perform their own video versions of 'Va pensiero' from Verdi's Nabucco
The tenor shares his love for the composer and explains what makes his music so human, even for newcomers to opera
E.L. James' book Fifty Shades Of Grey has inspired an album of fantastic classical music - here's our track by track album guide!
When his new opera was staged in superstitious Naples, Verdi found himself surrounded by overzealous protectors. But could they protect him from the Curse Of The Eye?
Top Verdi Pieces
- Conductor: Carl Davis
- Ensemble: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra & Chorus
- Record Label: Classic FM
- Catalog: CFMCD 53
La Traviata - Prelude to Act I
- Conductor: Carlo Rizzi
- Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
- Record Label: Deutsche Grammophon
- Catalog: 4775936
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