Giuseppe Verdi: La Forza del Destino

Whether the makers of a certain famous brand of beer intended it or not, there is a rather nice musical pun involved in choosing the central theme of the Overture from La Forza del Destino for their ‘stellar’ advertising.

After his Un ballo in Maschera (A Masked Ball) in the 1850s, Verdi had pretty much retired to his farm in Sant’agata, and was overcome with acute writer’s block. Telling friends that his composing days were over, he simply tended the farm and smiled that cheeky smile of his. It took the temptation of a large commission from Russia to get the blood pumping to his writing hand again. Soon, he was thinking of quite a few ideas for a new work, partly based on a Spanish play called Don Alvaro, by Angel de Saavedra, Duke of Rivas. Verdi insisted that his librettist, Francesco Piave, somehow combine a work by Schiller called Wallenstein’s Lager. There are some great ‘highlights’ versions of the opera, but if it’s the Overture in particular you are after, Claudio Abbado conducts the Berlin Philharmonic in this and some other choice Verdi opera overtures and preludes.

Recommended Recording

Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra; Claudio Abbado (conductor). Deutsche Grammophon: E4576272.