Today, October 10th is the bicentennial birthday of Verdi, the iconic Italian opera composer known for his masterpieces: Aida, Nabucco, Rigoletto, and La Traviata to name a few.
Born in 1813 in the town of Roncole, in the region of Emilia-Romagna, it is indisputable that Verdi “is the most popular opera composer of the present day”. We’ve attended a few of Verdi’s renowned operas but the one that has made the biggest impression was Aida at the Verona Arena this past summer.
The surreal setting of the Arena sure played a part, add the visual splendor of Aida and the music, it was almost too much to take it all in. Here’s a short clip of Aida performed last year at the Verona Arena to give you a idea of this splendid production.
It’s no surprise that there is a plethora of celebrations taking place not only in Italy but all over the world to honor this auspicious occasion. This is confirmed by Oxford University Press which reported that
The world’s leading conductors and singers preparing and presenting major performances. People gathering around Verdi monuments from Parma to New York to offer impromptu renditions of the chorus of the Hebrews in Act 3 of Nabucco, “Va, pensiero.”
On the subject of “Va pensiero”, let me digress for a moment. We attended Nabucco conducted by Riccardo Muti at Teatro dell’Opera in Rome a few years back and it was one of the most moving performances ever. During a period when the budget for the arts were getting slashed due to austerity measures, Muti
led an encore of “Va pensiero,” urging the audience to sing along in protest of the substantial cuts by the government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in cultural funding.
And talking about Riccardo Muti, the New York Times reported that the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Muti, the music director will
will mark Giuseppe Verdi’s 200th birthday on Thursday evening by streaming a live performance of the Requiem on their Facebook page and on more than 30 other Web sites around the world.
It starts at 8.30pm EST and if you can, don’t miss it!
Have you attended one of Verdi’s opera? Which is your favorite?