Today, October 10th is the 200th year anniversary of the birth of the greatest composer of Italian Opera, Giuseppe Verdi!
It’s a day of celebration!!!! Many Opera houses and concert halls around the world are celebrating the bicentenary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi!
For example: Tonight, on Verdi’s Birthday, we are going to watch a live video stream of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, led by conductor Riccardo Muti in a performance of Verdi’s incredible “Requiem” , featuring soprano Tatiana Serjan, mezzo-soprano Daniela Barcellona, tenor Mario Zeffiri and bass Ildar Abdrazakov.
You can watch “Verdi’s Requiem” tonight at:
The international celebrations of Verdi’s bicentenary are all over the world, from Busseto, Italy to Guanajuato, Mexico.
In Busseto (Verdi’s home village) there is going to be a performance of Verdi’s “Falstaff” with Renato Bruson.
In Mexico City, the OFUNAM (the Philharmonic Orchestra of the national autonomous university of Mexico) and the “Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería” performed a Verdi Gala and now at the International Cervantino Festival in Guanajuato, also in Mexico, there is going to be a special concert dedicated to Verdi’s Arias with Mexican tenor Arturo Chacón Cruz.
200 cities around the world will celebrate Verdi’s Bicentenary.
For more information, you can visit the offical site of Verdi 200 at:
“Oberto”, “Nabucco”, “Giovanna D’arco”, “La Battaglia di Legnano”, “Jerusalem”, “Louisa Miller”, “I Lombardi”, “Attila”, “Macbeth”, “La Forza del Destino”, “Don Carlo”, “Stiffelio”, “I due Foscari”, “Un Ballo in Maschera”, “I Vespri Siciliani”, “Ernani”, “I Masnadieri”, “Il Trovatore”, “La Traviata”, “Rigoletto”, “Otello”, “Simon Boccanegra”, “Aida” and “Falstaff” are my favorite Verdi operas.
“Va, Pensiero” , also known as “the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves”, the chorus of the Third Act of Verdi’s opera “Nabucco” is for Italy a second “National Anthem”.
Inspired by Psalm 137. Known as Verdi’s “Jewish” work of art, it recollects the story of Jewish exiles from Judea after the loss of the First Temple in Jerusalem.
The opera with its powerful chorus established Verdi as a major composer in 19th-century Italy.
The full incipit is “Va, pensiero, sull’ali dorate”, meaning “Fly, thought, on wings of gold” (note that the first word is in modern orthography spelled Va’, with an apostrophe, but this is absent in the libretto.
Verdi composed “Nabucco” at a difficult moment in his life. His wife and small children had all just died. He had contracted with La Scala to write another opera and the director forced the libretto into his hands.
Returning home, Verdi happened to open the libretto at “Va, pensiero” and seeing the phrase, he heard the words singing.
At first rehearsal “the stagehands shouted their approval, then beat on the floor and the sets with their tools to create an even noisier demonstration”.
As he was subsequently to note, Verdi felt that “this is the opera with which my artistic career really begins. And though I had many difficulties to fight against, it is certain that Nabucco was born under a lucky star”.
Upon Verdi’s death, along his funeral’s cortege in the streets of Milan, bystanders started spontaneous choruses of “Va, pensiero…”
Va, pensiero, sull’ali dorate;
va, ti posa sui clivi, sui colli,
ove olezzano tepide e molli
l’aure dolci del suolo natal!
Del Giordano le rive saluta,
di Sionne le torri atterrate…
O, mia patria, sì bella e perduta!
O, membranza, sì cara e fatal!
Arpa d’or dei fatidici vati,
perché muta dal salice pendi?
Le memorie nel petto raccendi,
ci favella del tempo che fu!
O simile di Sòlima ai fati
traggi un suono di crudo lamento,
o t’ispiri il Signore un concento
che ne infonda al patire virtù.