As the very essence of 19th century Italian opera, Giuseppe Verdi influenced musical-dramatic activities in his homeland almost without competition for 50 years. His compositional work began in a period of national division and the powerful struggle for unity. This explains the nationalistic fervor that resounds so effectively in his early works – the most famous of which being the chorus of exiles in "Nabucco". These works were greeted with passionate enthusiasm by his contemporaries. With "Ernani", "Macbeth" and "I masdanieri", Verdi turned to a more personal, interior drama. The psychological depiction of his characters formed the focal point of his operas, which led musically to a declamatory character-driven vocal style which put the old bel canto ideal behind it. The action character of the libretto style as well as the dramatic dimension gained added significance. Verdi demanded a new linguistic style, a "parola scenica”, directly related to the concrete plot situation, thus making possible a forceful dramatic-musical setting. Verdi’s operatic reform first emerged in operas like "Rigoletto", found its maturity in "Aida" and continued on in his two late works, "Otello" and "Falstaff" to a completely personal concept of drama in music. Besides his almost 30 operas, Verdi created only a few vocal and liturgical works, of which especially the "Messa da Requiem" and the "Quattro pezzi sacri" are every bit as significant as the operas.
Born on October 9, 1813 in Le Roncole near Bussetto
Died on January 27, 1901 in Milan