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Giuseppe Verdi 1840–1890

Developments in Opera

The works of Shakespeare, Hugo, and other great Romantics inspire action-packed melodramas filled with fascinating characters.

Italians so love Verdi's catchy tunes that his music becomes the anthem to unify Italy into one nation, and Verdi himself becomes a national hero.

Opera matures; rather than a collection of separate musical numbers, it starts to become a seamless whole in which the music flows from beginning to end, as in Verdi's Aida, Otello, and Falstaff.

The Masterworks

An evil duke's stooge, a pathetic jester, seeks revenge on his master, only to kill the only person who loves his innocent daughter. A gripping and grisly exploration of humanity's dark side.

La traviata:
A dying courtesan makes the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of the man she loves. Tuneful, heart-wrenching, and surprisingly modern.

An enslaved Ethiopian princess falls in love with her father's enemy, the commander of the Egyptian armies. Majestic and grandiose (and in some productions, filled with camels and elephants).

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Photo Credit

Aida, 1992 © Gary Smith photo