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Giuseppe Verdi: The Man and His Operas

Sandra Schwartz

Presented at: OCON 2005

Date: Jul 02, 2005

In the second half of the 19th century, there was only one name in Italian opera: Giuseppe Verdi. What made him and his operas so universally loved throughout his lifetime and a century after his death?

This course shows how the son of an innkeeper rose from a student rejected by the Milan Conservatory of Music to a peerless musical dramatist who revolutionized Italian opera. Unlike Wagner—the other giant of 19th-century opera—who wrote about gods, Verdi composed his scores about man. Utilizing the best theatrical material of the time, e.g., Shakespeare, Schiller, Hugo, Verdi gave his operas integrative power and emotional impact by centering them around a range of moral values—love, loyalty, friendship, justice, honor—all heightened by glorious melody. The course also shows how this independent man lived his life on his own terms, in his personal relationships, in his politics and in his art.


Parts: 4

Handout: none


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