Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)
Born in Le Roncole near Busseto (Parma), the October 10, 1813 by an innkeeper and a spinner, Giuseppe Verdi showed early musical talent, as evidenced by the inscription on his spinetta from cembalaro, which Stands in 1821 the repaired for free “seeing the good layout that has the young Giuseppe Verdi of learn how to play this instrument“; its cultural and humanistic formation occurred mainly through the attendance of the school library of the Jesuits in Busseto, which is still in place.
The principles of musical composition and instrumental practice he was by Ferdinando Provesi, master of the local Philharmonic; but it was Milan who came the formation of his personality.
Not allowed in the Conservatory (for having exceeded the limits of age) for a period of three years they perfected in contrapuntal technique with Vincenzo Lavigna, former “maestro al cembalo“ del Teatro alla Scala, while frequenting the Milanese Theater allowed him direct knowledge of contemporary operatic repertoire.
The milanese environment, influenced by the Austrian domination, made him even knowing the Repertoire of the Viennese classics, especially that of the String Quartet. The milanese aristocracy relations and contacts with the theatrical environment decided also on the future fate of the young composer: go not to the sacred music as Kapellmeister, or instrumental music, but almost exclusively at the teatro in musica.
His first opera, born as Rocester (1837), the result of a long development, and then transformed into Oberto, conte di San Bonifacio was performed at La Scala on November 17, 1839, with all satisfactory outcome.
The impresario of the teatro milanese maximum, Bartolomeo Merelli, offered him a contract for two other scores: Un giorno di regno (Il finto Stanislao), opera buffa, had only one representation (September 5, 1840), and only with Nabucco, which took place on March 9, 1842, Verdi turned talent fully. The model of the grandiose, where the story is drawn in great colours, is repeated in the next opera, I lombardi alla prima crociata (Milan, La Scala, February 11, 1843); and it is with Ernani (Venice, La Fenice, March 9, 1844) that dramatic experience is expressed in the conflict between the passions of the characters. This stylistic choice continues with the two Foscari (Rome, Teatro Argentina, November 3, 1844), and is further refined in Alzira (Naples, San Carlo, August 12, 1845). All the works of the first creative stage verdiana differ from each other because each of them is explored this or that particular aspect of dramatic and musical experience. Thus, in Joan of arc, from the play by Schiller (Milan, La Scala, February 15, 1845), the supernatural element plays a decisive role in the affair, again tailored especially grandiose; While in Attila (Venice, La Fenice, March 17, 1846) testing for both the spectacle on stage as the overall organization of individual acts that make up the score. With Macbeth (Florence, La Pergola, March 14, 1847) Verdi explores for the first time a Shakespearean model, and especially highlights the dramatically relevant connections between crucial moments of each other, and this with only music media.
At thirty-four years the compositor has now reached international fame; his works are frequently in all theatres of the world, and are commissioned by the major Italian theaters.
But this is not enough for Green. The transformation of I lombardi in Jérusalem (Paris, Opéra, November 26, 1847) is the first encounter with the needs (as well as the impressive means available) of French grand opera, and this experience are obvious traces in La battaglia di Legnano (Rome, Argentina, January 27, 1849), in which individual conflicts and patriotic aspirations, solicited by the motions Risorgimento explode simultaneouslyalternate in the score. With Luisa Miller (Naples, San Carlo, December 8, 1849), again on schilleriano model, moving also conflicts between different social levels, at the end of which the innocence succumbs.
With Stiffelio (Trieste, Teatro Grande, November 16, 1850) the bourgeois setting of a religious sect highlights the conflict between the individual feelings and the duty that the spiritual forces. With Rigoletto (La Fenice, Venice, March 11, 1851) Kirsty art reaches one of its highest summits due to the perfect dramatic concatenation (also fruit of faithfulness to the model by Victor Hugo), created with equally perfect balance of music means employed: revenge of the Court Jester for the insult inflicted by the libertine Duke to his daughter is frightening about him among the natural elements in unleashing storm. Always the size of the individuals role play La traviata (La Fenice, Venice, March 6, 1853), centralized score about heroin, a courtesan that hypocritical conventions of the society in which he lives between the total self-sacrifice. These two directional events, in which the development of the action takes place with an intense rhythm, contrasts with that of Il Trovatore (Rome, Teatro Apollo, January 19, 1853), taken from the homonymous García Gutiérrez‘s play, in which the motivations which determine the conduct of the action are continuously circumvented; the dramatic action is constantly in the musical gesture sublimes, creating a form of pure theatrics for which there are no models or comparisons.
The experience of grand opéra Verdi returned with Les Vêpres siciliennes (Paris, Opéra, June 13, 1855), addressing for the first time the demands of French Declamation, and comparing once again conflicts between individuals with aspirations and feelings of an entire people. In addition to the translation of the Troubadour and Trouvère impoverished in transformation (especially for censorship) of Stiffelio in Aroldo, with Simon Boccanegra (La Fenice, Venice, March 12, 1857) experiences a new Green issues and political opposition, while with Un ballo in maschera conflicts are primarily within each of the main characters, and are represented through a constant game of Symmetries of situations and costumes that are matching in continuous variations of rhythmic cell which is at the base of the entire score. Similar structural experimentation back in La forza del destino (St. Petersburg, Imperial Theatre, November 10, 1862) where once again the improbable adventures of individuals and their sufferings stand out against the indifference of the collective scenes.
The return to the French orbit leads to rewriting of Macbeth (Paris, Théâtre Lyrique, April 21, 1865) and composition of Don Carlos (Paris, Opéra, March 11, 1867), where the requirements are usually spectacular bent to the needs of the most complex of all Verdi’s dramatic realizations: conflicts between individuals and within them-are connected together in a swirling spiral, in which the liberal policy of the Marquis of Posa will compare with that of Philip; but on both the power of the Church personified by the Grand Inquisitor.
Green, who had been elected in the first Italian Parliament and that at the request of Cavour had composed the anthem of Nations for the opening of the universal exhibition of London in 1862, was seen with growing concern the absence of a sense of belonging in the newly created nation; and not ceased to point out patterns in which recognize a common cultural heritage; Rossini‘s death (November 13, 1868) proposed a Requiem mass, collective of Italian masters tribute to the greatest exponent of the art their (1869), reworking and La forza del destino, wrote a Symphony whose articulation is modeled on that of Rossini‘s Guglielmo Tell.
The establishment of Aida (Cairo, December 24, 1871 Opera House), commissioned as “national” Egyptian opera by Ismail Pasha, led to a highly original interpretation, in Italian key, spectacular and dramatic needs of grand opera; Once again, in this work the conflict between power and individual leads to annihilation of the latter through a kaleidoscopic alternation of stylistic, musical experiences and spectacular.
Before the spread in Italy of instrumental music from beyond the Greens responded by composing a Quartet (Naples, April 1, 1873) to prove that he knew fighting the “enemy“ with its own weapons and, on the death of Alessandro Manzoni, decided to compose himself by already made in the last movement of collective mass for Rossini, a Requiem, and the composition feels textual articulation and the alternation of sound layers.
But the Requiem, further political message that identifies the recipient maximum glory contemporary literary and historical model in Palestrina that held some crucial moments of the score, is a solitary, completely subjective, meditation on the mystery of death, with tensions constantly frustrated towards transcendence felt as unlikely.
To a period of apparent stagnation rather prolonged and creative inactivity followed the radical Remaking of Simon Boccanegra (1880-81), which marks the beginning of cooperation with Arrigo Boito, and transformation of Don Carlos from grand opera in five acts by italiana (Milan, La Scala, January 10, 1884).
With the composition of Otello (Milan, La Scala, February 5, 1887) Greens back the drama at the level of the individual-the protagonist-writhing and succumbs between absolute good abstraction-Desdemona-and evil-Jago-. If in Othello are still recognizable, despite continuous stream of speech and drama, static in which nuclei are the closed forms of the past, in Falstaff, extreme fatigue, Loren action Opera turns into pure play of the intellect, which is an equally subtle and refined sound symmetries March.
Verdi’s artistic parabola ended with the composition of the three sacred pieces, a Stabat Mater and a Te Deum for chorus and large orchestra, which frame the prayer to the Virgin Mary from the last canto della Divina commedia, entrusted to four solo female voices and, in these three songs were later added, at first, an Ave Maria for choir a capella composed earlier. Here too, as in the Requiem, the aspirations for a transcendence alternate with a pessimistic view of human reality, which only the Greens really believes. And for elderly musicians giving Green life in Milan at a retirement home that he will establish “my most beautiful work.”
Green‘s death, the January 27, 1901, marks the end of an era of Italian life. the apotheosis of his funeral coincided with the beginning of the parable of the good fortune of growing his work, never as now alive and present on the scene around the world.