Giuseppe Verdi : biography
Verdi was born in 1813. That was the same year that Richard Wager was born, the composer who would become Verdi’s principal rival and the leading composer of the German opera school. The boy was grown up in Le Roncole – a place not far from Busetto in the province of Parma. The future composer’s father kept a country inn and Giuseppe’s mother was a spinner. The boy’s childhood was rather hard. The family was quite poor. Giuseppe helped to say the Mass in the local church. He was taught to play the organ and read musical notes by Pietro Baistrocchi. Noticing the boy’s inclination to music parents decided to buy him a spinet – that musical instrument was kept by Giuseppe till his last day.
One rich trader from the neighboring Busetto, Antonio Barezzi, noticed the talented boy. He believed that Giuseppe could become a great composer instead of making an inn holder or a village organ player. Following Barezzi’s advice Giuseppe moved to Busetto to start his education. That was the beginning of the new period of life that would become even harder than childhood – adolescence and youth. Every weekend Giuseppe went back to Le Roncole to play the organ in the church for the mass. At that period Verdi had a new teacher of composition – Fernando Provezi, the director of the “Philharmonic society” of Busetto. Besides musical training, Provezi also aroused Verdi’s interest in literature. Giuseppe’s attention was drawn to the classics of worldwide-known writers such as Shakespeare, Dante, Goethe and Schiller. One of the most Giuseppe Verdi’s favorite writings was Alessandro Francesco Manzoni’s book “Engaged”.
Soon Verdi moved to Milan in order to continue his education and enter the conservatoire. He was twenty years old by that time. Unfortunately Verdi didn’t manage to enter because of his low skills in piano playing. Moreover they had age limit. Verdi started to take private lessons attending opera performances and musical concerts from time to time. Communicating with Milan people of high society he seriously decided to became a theatre composer.
As Verdi came back to Busetto he married Margheritta Barezzi. Both of their children died in babyhood.
The first performance of Verdi’s opera “Oberto” written in 1839 took place at “La Scala” in Milan. The performance was successful and the impresario of the theatre offered Giuseppe Verdi a contract for composing two more operas. They would be “Un giorno di regno” or “One day Reign” of 1841 and “Nabucco” performed in 1842. Verdi’s wife and their both children died as Verdi was working at the first opera for the contract. And to make things still worse the opera failed at the performance. The second opera – “Nabuko”, firstly performed in 1842, made Verdi a famous composer. “Nabuko” was soon followed but a few operas, such as “I Lombardi” and “Ernani”. Both operas were successfully performed at several Italian cities.
In 1847 opera “I Lombardi” was rewritten and renamed to “Jerusalem”. With that titled the opera was performed at Paris Opera. “Jerusalem” was the first opera Verdi made in grand-opera style as he had to make some changes following French traditions of performing opera.
At the age of 37 Giuseppe Verdi started love affair with a soprano singer Giuseppina Strepponi. By that time she was in the twilight of her career. The couple married only 11 years later and before that they had to suffer from social disapproval. Their living together was considered to be rather scandal in many places they stayed for. Soon Giuseppina decided to finish her career and Verdi wanted to follow her just the same as Gioachino Rossini did. By that time Giuseppe Verdi was quite rich famous and fond of Giuseppina. It was mostly thanks to Giuseppina that Verdi didn’t give up composing operas. His first opera written after had retired became his masterpiece – “Rigolettto” finished in 1851. The libretto of the opera was motivated by Victor Hugo’s play ”Le Roi s’amuse”. It was considerably charge because if censorship and Verdi even wanted to give up the whole opera because of the fact. The first performance of the opera took place in Venice in 1851 and got great success.
In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine