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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Happy Birthday Giuseppe Verde

Giuseppe Verde was born on October 10th or 9th 1813 (the baptismal records state that the infant was "born yesterday") in a small village called Busseto.

As a young man he studied composition in Milan and returned to be the music master of his small village. Much renowned, he was invited by a prominent merchant to instruct his lovely daughter, Margherita, in music.

Of course, just as in opera, the two fell deeply in love and, just as in opera, tragedy was just behind the curtain.

Within 4 years of the marriage the couple lost two children in infancy and Verde lost his beloved Margherita at the age of only 26.

He vowed never to write again, but friends brought him back from the depths of despair and we have been graced for more than 170 years with his awe inspiring talent.

The operas of Giuseppe Verde are lovely, poetic portrayals of the often tragic side of humanity. In both Rigoletto and La Traviata a well meaning father, wishing to protect his child, imposes his will and causes loss of love, happiness and, in the case of poor Violetta and Gilda, their lives.

These girls never got a chance at redemption, but Verde had the opportunity to love again. After the loss of his beloved Margherita, Verde found happiness with his life long companion, and wife, soprano Giuseppina Strepponi.

My own favorite Verde arias reflect the quiet, often despairing, moments in his operas.When a young and beautiful Violetta lies dying in her darkened bed chamber, she reflects back on her once vibrant and exciting life in the aria Adios Corazon Amante. A hush comes over the audience as its members listen, sometimes in tears, to the haunting chords. The aria ends, the quiet continues until someone begins the thunderous applause bringing all back to life. What a thrill!

Celebrate Verde's birthday by listening to your own favorite pieces or by test driving one out.
It will change your life.

Happy Birthday!