Giuseppe VERDI
9 October 1813 - 27 January 1901 (age 87)

Giuseppe Verdi was an Italian 19th century composer. One of the most influential opera composers of all time and still now one of the most popular and most performed of opera composers.






Portrait of Giuseppe Verdi

Portrait by Paul Helm ©
click on image for more info.


Born: Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi,
Birthplace: Roncole, province of Parma, Italy (but was France then).
Father: Carlo Giuseppe Verdi, innkeeper
Mother: Luigia Uttini, spinner
Siblings: Giuseppa, died aged 17. Some say her name was Virginia.
1st Wife: Margherita Barezzi (pupil) Died aged 26 shortly after the death of their children.
Children: daughter Virginia and son Icilio, both died in infancy
2nd wife: Giuseppina Strepponi, a soprano
Died: 27 January 1901, Milan
Cause of Death: stroke
Grave: Casa di Riposo per Musicisti, Milan. see findagrave


28 operas, including:
- Aida
- Don Carlos
- Falstaff
- Il Trovatore
- La Forza del Destino
- La Traviata
- Macbeth
- Nabucco
- Otello
- Rigoletto

Vocal music, including the iconic Verdi Requiem


2013 sees the celebrations for his 200th birthday. Concerts, souvenirs, documentaries, articles, books - enjoy it all.


- Early Years: He showed an early interest in music but his parents didn't have the money for him to take lessons.
At age 7 he used to help the local church organist.
At age 12 he studied with the organist of the church in nearby Bussetto and became his asistant at age 16.
- Age 20: Attempted to enrol at the Milan Conservatory but was rejected as being too old. So he studied for three years with Vincenzo Lavigna, a harpsichordist with La Scala.
- Age 23: He married Margherita, one of his pupils and the daughter of his benefactor
- Age 25: Moved to Milan for the production of his opera Oberto.
Birth and death of his infant daughter Virginia.
- Age 26: Birth and death of his infant son Icilio. Premiere of Oberto at La Scala. They could not enjoy its moderate success following the death of their son.
- Age 27: An even bigger tragedy: his wife  died of encephalitis, inflamation of the brain, at the age of 26. He was devastated. 
Start of his working relationship with Ricordi, his publisher.
- Age 29: Nabucco produced at La Scala was his first big success. Giuseppina Streponni, his future second wife was in the cast.
- Age 31: Ermani premiered in Venice. I Due Foscari premiered in Rome.
- Age 33: Went to Paris for production of Ermani. Attila premiered in Venice.
- Age 36: Bought a villa at Sant'Agata, near Bussetto. This became his permanent home.
- Age 46: Married Giuseppina. 
- Age 58: Premiere of Aida which had been commissioned  for the opening of the Suez Canal. Elected to the Chamber of Deputies.
- Age 62: Made a senator by King Victor Emmanuel II. He retired to Sant'Agata and worked on revising some of his earlier works. 
His last opera was Otello premiered in Milan in 1897 when he was 84.
During his last years he also founded a hospital/care home for retired musicians. This was the basis for the film Quartet, directed by Dustin Hoffman and released in 2013.
- Age 87: He had a stroke and died in Milan. His funeral is still the biggest public event ever held in Italy.

Images of Verdi
An interesting collection of images from art, album covers, postage stamps, cartoons, caricatures etc.


- “You may have the universe if I may have Italy”

- “Our mistake, you see, was to write interminable large operas, which had to fill an entire evening. And now along comes someone with a one or two-act opera without all that pompous nonsense - that was a happy reform.”

- “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.”

- "How wonderful operas would be if only there were no singers!"

- "It is better to invert reality than to copy it."

- "The success of our operas rests most of the time in the hands of the conductor. This person is as necessary as a tenor or a prima donna."

Verdi and Wagner

An interesting essay by Peter McKenzie-Brown comparing the similarities and differences in the lives of these two composers born within a few months of each other. Read it here.

La Traviata in Valencia Market (flashmob)

"La Donna e Mobile" - Rigoletto


Giuseppe's facebook group

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Opera in Verona

Every year the Verona Opera Season in the Roman amphitheater known as the Arena includes Verdi's spectacular Aida.  Each season features five or six operas, always including works by Verdi and Puccini.

See the next program at the 2017 Verona Opera Season

Dies Irae (Requiem)

Links, sources and where to go for more information


A Tribute site

Opera 101-Verdi

Music with Ease


Verdi - official site

Italian Composers - more profiles here at 52composers 

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