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Giuseppe Verdi was an Italian composer who is known for several operas, including La Traviata and Aida.
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Giuseppe Verdi was born in Italy in 1813, prior to Italian unification. Verdi produced many successful operas, including La Traviata, Falstaff and Aida, and became known for his skill in creating melody and his profound use of theatrical effect. Additionally, his rejection of the traditional Italian opera for integrated scenes and unified acts earned him fame. Verdi died on January 27, 1901, in Milan, Italy.
"I adore art ... when I am alone with my notes, my heart pounds and the tears stream from my eyes, and my emotion and my joys are too much to bear."
"You may have the universe if I may have Italy."
Famed composer Giuseppe Verdi was born Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi on October 9 or 10, 1813, in the community of Le Roncole, near Busseto in the province of Parma, Italy. His mother, Luigia Uttini, worked as a spinner, and his father, Carlo Giuseppe Verdi, made a living as a local inkeeper.
Verdi first developed musical talents at a young age, after moving with his family from Le Roncole to the neighboring town of Busseto. There, he began studying musical composition. In 1832, Verdi applied for admission at the Milan Conservatory, but was rejected due to his age. Subsequently, he began studying under Vincenzo Lavigna, a famous composer from Milan.
Verdi got his start in Italy's music industry in 1833, when he was hired as a conductor at the Philharmonic Society in Busseto. In addition to composing, he made a living as an organist around this time. Three years later, in 1836, Verdi wed Margherita Barezzi, the daughter of a friend, Antonio Barezzi.
In 1838, at age 25, Verdi returned to Milan, where he completed his first opera, Oberto, in 1839, with the help of fellow musician Giulio Ricordi; the opera's debut production was held at La Scala, an opera house in Milan. While working on Oberto, the composer suffered what would be the first of many personal tragedies: His and Margherita's first child, daughter Virginia Maria Luigia Verdi (born in March 1837), died in infancy on August 12, 1838; just one year later, in October 1839, the couple's second child, son Verdi Icilio Romano Verdi (born in July 1838), died, also as an infant.
Verdi followed Oberto with the comic opera Un giorno di regno, which premiered in Milan in September 1840, at Teatro alla Scala. Unlike Oberto, Verdi's second opera was not well-received by audiences or critics. Making the experience worse for the young musician, Un giorno di regno's debut was painfully overshadowed by the death of his wife, Margherita, on June 18, 1840, at age 26.
Dispirited by the loss of his family, Verdi entered the 1840s disheartened, struggling to find inspiration to continue creating music. He soon found solace in his work, however, by composing two new, fourt-part operas in 1842 and '43, Nabucco and I Lombardi alla Prima Crociata (best known simply as I Lombardi), respectively. Both pieces earned the composer a great amount of success. Subsequently, Verdi held a prominent reputation in Italy's operatic theater scene and, later, in the country's political scene as well. He became known for his skill in creating melody and his profound use of theatrical effect.
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