Giuseppe Verdi, the first child of Carlo Giuseppe Verdi and Luigia Uttini, was born in their home in 1813 in the town of Le Roncole, within the borders of the First French Empire. He died in 1901 in the newly formed Italian Republic so influenced by his passion and music.
Verdi, was given private lessons in Latin and Italian by the village schoolmaster, Baistrocchi, and at age six he attended the local school. After Baistrocchi’s death, Verdi at the young age of eight, became the official paid organist.
Having achieved notoriety through the immense popularity of his operas, Verdi then began, in 1859, to take an active interest in Italian politics. He showed an early commitment to the revolutionary Risorgimento movement, which was trying to unify Italy into a nation that was fractured by Italian internal and external warfare. Verdi then wrote the opera “Un Ballo Mascaro” or “The Masked Ball”, set in revolutionary Boston to evade the local censors. By putting on an opera about a revolution against tyranny, he was cleverly supporting the revolutionary Risorgimento’s cause. An acronym of his name was used by the Italian patriots: V.E.R.D.I. meaning the installation of Victor Emanuel Re Di’ Italia. Only his popularity and fame saved him from harassment and arrest.
His musical output of 28 successful operas produced musical innovations such as Coloratura styles of astronomical acrobatic vocal performances by the Sopranos in the mad scene of his “La Traviata” (“The Lost One”) where Violeta, a courtesan, struggles about falling in love with a minor aristocrat and losing her freedom in a taboo affair of the times.
In his masterpiece opera “Rigoletto”, he achieves musical immortality with the aria, “La Donna e mobile,” sung over and over by opera stars and amateurs alike.
Today, his operas are still as popular as they were well over a hundred years ago. He also produced non-operatic music in his masterful Requiem. His music beats in the heart of every Italian who see him as the master of Italian opera and as a patriot of the nation.