Today is Verdi’s Birthday

Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)(Photo: casa verdi)
Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)(Photo: casa verdi)

Giuseppe Verdi was born on this date in 1813-he is 199 years old today. The bicentennial next year will be a blast. Meanwhile, here are some of my favorite Verdi “moments”.  What are yours?

Nabucco was Verdi’s first “hit”.  The grand chorus Va pensiero is the lament of the Hebrew Slaves longing for their homeland. Everyone in that first audience in Milan in 1841 knew the young composer was singing about them, the Italian people, longing for freedom from Franco-Austrian rule. This music made Verdi a national. He retains this status to this day.

Here’s a great tune, and who better than Luciano Pavarotti to tell us that women are as fickle as the wind.

Aida! Is there a more perfect opera?  This was commissioned by the khedive of Egypt for the opening of the Suez Canal. The premiere was postponed but finally held in Cairo in 1871. The khedive attended. His wives filled three theater boxes. Aida has outlived them all.

Fifty years and twenty-six operas after Nabucco, Verdi says goodbye with Falstaff, and tutto nel mondo e burla (all the world is nuts!)

Just you wait for October 10, 2013!