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Throughout his long career, Verdi worked with several librettists and gained a reputation for being something of a tartar. Sometimes he would even write the text himself, only allowing his librettist to put it into verse. The composer had strong ideas about what he wanted from the text to his operas; in the early compositions this was a dramatic ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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tomb in order to die with Radamès. Reunited, the couple await death, while above them in the temple, Amneris mourns and prays for Radamès. Personalities | Giuseppe Verdi | High Romantic | Opera Houses & Companies | La Scala, Milan | High Romantic | Opera ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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his father and died at age 23 in suspicious circumstances. Don Carlos, a grand opéra that juxtaposed political matters of state and church with private relationships, so dissatisfied Verdi in the original that he revised it several times. Sometimes labelled by critics as ‘sprawling’ and ‘flawed’, the opera was written with Parisian tastes in mind, which explains its ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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his identity and reminds Ernani of their pact. Despite the pleas of Elvira, who has returned, Ernani remains true to his word and kills himself. Personalities | Giuseppe Verdi | High Romantic | Opera ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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Verdi’s last opera, Falstaff was the third taken from William Shakespeare, this time from his Merry Wives of Windsor and Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2. Verdi wrote the opera when he was 79, but it was not his only comic opera, as is often supposed. There was another, Un giorno di Regno, which ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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New Philharmonia Orchestra; Zubin Mehta, conductor; RCA RD86194; Soloists: Leontyne Price (Leonora), Fiorenza Cossotto (Azucena), Plácido Domingo (Manrico), Sherrill Milnes (Conte di Luna), Bonaldo Giaiotti (Ferrando) Personalities | Giuseppe Verdi | High Romantic | Opera ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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‘The Force of Destiny’ La forza del destino was commissioned by the Imperial Theatre, St Petersburg where it premiered in 1862. Verdi considered the opera an ‘excellent success’ with ‘opulent’ settings and costumes, although critics thought the tragic, lugubrious love story had a depressing effect on the audience. It was first performed in New York in 1865 and ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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‘The Fallen Woman’ La dame aux camélias (‘The Lady of the Camellias’) by Alexandre Dumas had barely been staged in 1852 before Verdi took it up for La traviata, one of the great operas from his middle period. It premiered at Teatro La Fenice, Venice on 6 March 1853, and the first performance was disastrous. Verdi blamed the ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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‘The Sicilian Vespers’ Verdi inherited the libretto for Les vêpres siciliennes (‘The Sicilian Vespers’) from Le duc d’Albe (‘The Duke of Alba’), an opera left unfinished when its composer, Donizetti, died. Verdi made it a five-act work and it had its first performance at the Paris Opéra, for which it was commissioned, on 13 June 1855. It ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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Verdi was an enthusiastic admirer of Shakespeare and Macbeth was the first opera based on his work. It premiered at the Teatro della Pergola in Florence on 14 March 1847, with Verdi himself conducting. Performances followed throughout Europe, including Madrid (1848), Vienna (1849), and New York (1858). For the premiere in Paris, at the Théâtre Lyrique on 21 ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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foreign rule identified with them and the chorus became the anthem of the Risorgimento. It was sung by the crowds at Verdi’s funeral in Milan in 1901. Personalities | Giuseppe Verdi | High Romantic | Opera Houses & Companies | La Scala, Milan | High Romantic | Opera ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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at a time when the composer believed he had reached his peak with Aida and was being upstaged by Wagner’s Teutonic grandeur, which was dominating the European music scene. Verdi was wrong on both counts. His Otello fulfilled Wagner’s concept of a ‘total work of art’ in more ways than one. Music fused with drama and each scene with the ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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five most famous numbers, including the great quartet from the last act, are often detached and performed separately. Rigoletto is also an unconventional opera, based on what Verdi called a ‘series of duets’. He also used a reminiscence motif, repeating the chilling, doom-laden phrase introduced in the prelude to the opera to represent the jester’s terror ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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Verdi’s dark, brooding opera Simon Boccanegra had a tortuous history before 24 March 1881, when its final version premiered at La Scala, Milan. Verdi composed Boccanegra in 1857, but the Venetian audience reacted coolly; an anti-Verdi claque sabotaged the performance and a false rumour spread, claiming that Verdi had written the libretto and made a mess of ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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‘A Masked Ball’ In 1857, Verdi was virtually asking for censorship trouble when he chose Gustavuse III, ou Le bal masqué (‘Gustavus III, or The Masked Ball’) for his next work. In 1792 King Gustavusus III of Sweden had been shot dead at a masked ball in Stockholm. Regicide was a taboo subject and the Neapolitan censors immediately ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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