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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

Rigoletto:
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.

Aida:
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