Verdi, Giuseppe (1813-1901)

Giuseppe Verdi

born: 10 October 1813
died: 27 January 1901
country: Italy

Verdi revolutionised Italian opera, finding a powerful musical expression for such themes as abduction, murder, premature death and seduction in early mature works like Rigoletto and La traviata and, in later life, brilliantly translating Shakespeare’s characters Othello and Falstaff to the operatic stage. Keyboard and other musical studies in Le Roncole and nearby Busseto nurtured the boy’s natural talent; however, he failed to gain a place at the Milan Conservatory. Undeterred, Verdi studied privately with Vincenzo Lavigna and duly became Maestro di Cappella in Busseto.

His first marriage ended tragically with the death of his wife in 1840. By then Verdi had completed his first opera, Oberto, which was performed in 1839 at La Scala, Milan. A series of works was commissioned by the illustrious Milanese theatre, including Nabucco and I Lombardi. Their public success led to further commissions elsewhere, with new works created for Venice, Paris, London, and Florence. His international profile was enhanced with the triumphant first productions of Rigoletto (1851), Il trovatore (1853) and La traviata (1853). In 1859, Verdi married the soprano Giuseppina Strepponi.

After the censors refused to allow the theme of regicide in Un ballo in maschera (1859), Verdi’s work was championed by Italy’s nationalist movement. By coincidence the letters of his name stood as an acrostic for ‘Vittorio Emanuele, Re D’Italia’, allowing partisan opera fans to cry ‘Viva Verdi’ in support of both the composer and Italy’s future king. Between the composition of Aida (1871) and Otello, created for La Scala in 1887, Verdi wrote little for the stage. His final opera, Falstaff, was immediately recognised as a masterpiece.

from notes by David Cairns © 2008

Albums

Verdi & Strauss: String Quartets
CDH55012Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Verdi: Requiem
Studio Master: LSO0683Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
A Matthay Miscellany – Rare and unissued recordings by Tobias Matthay and his pupils
APR6014for the price of 1 — Download only
Gottschalk: Piano Music, Vol. 8
CDA67536Archive Service; also available on CDS44451/8Download currently discounted
Gottschalk: The Complete Solo Piano Music
CDS44451/88CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Grigory Ginzburg – His early recordings – 1
APR5667Download only
Irene Scharrer – The complete electric and selected acoustic recordings
APR6010for the price of 1 — Download only
Jewels of the Bel Canto
Studio Master: SIGCD374Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Liszt: Complete Piano Music
CDS44501/9899CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
Liszt: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 24 – Beethoven & Hummel Septets
CDA66761/22CDsDownload currently discounted
Liszt: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 30 – Liszt at the Opera III
CDA66861/22CDs
Liszt: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 42 – Liszt at the Opera IV
CDA67101/22CDs
Liszt: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 54 – Liszt at the Opera VI
CDA67406/72CDs
Liszt: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 6 – Liszt at the Opera I
CDA66371/22CDs
Marc-André Hamelin – It's all about the music
This album is not yet available for downloadDVDA68000DVD
Organ Fireworks, Vol. 14
CDA67758
Strauss & Verdi: String Quartets
CDH55012Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
The Piano G & Ts, Vol. 1 – Vladimir de Pachmann, Aleksander Michalowski & Landon Ronald
APR5531Download only
Verdi: Requiem
SIGCD184Download only
Liszt: Piano Music
LISZT12CDs Super-budget price sampler — Deleted

Complete works available for download