Giuseppe Verdi was born in Roncole, Italy, October 9, 1813.
At ten he was organist of the church in his native village; for three years he studied with Provesi at Busseto; in 1831 he went to Milan to enter the conservatory, but, for supposed lack of musical promise, was not admitted. For two years he pursued his studies under Vincenzo Lavigna at La Scala. then he returned to Busseto to take the place of Provesi, deceased, as conductor of the Philharmonic Society. In 1838 he returned to Milan. His first opera, “Oberto, Conte di San Bonifacio”, was produced there with som esuccess in 1839, but the next, “Un Giorno de Regno” (1840), failed. “Nabucodonosor” (1842) was his first pronounced success; “I Lombardi” (1843) was even more successful; and “Ernani” (1844) scored a great triumph.
Not till later, however, did Verdi win final supremacy when there were no longer and living competitors. “Rigoletto” (1851), “Il Trovatore” (1853), and “La Traviata” (1853) must be called the best, as they are the last of the distinctively Italian opera school. But when “Aida” was produced at Cairo (1871), it was at once acknowledged that a revolution had taken place in Verdi’s mind and method. The influence of Wagner and the music drama was distinctly felt. But Verdi was apparently not yet satisfied. For sixteen years he maintained silence in opera. The whispers of a great music drama roused anticipations that were not disappointed when “Otello” was produced at Milan in 1887. The surrender of the old Italian opera was now complete, and Verdi took his place at the head of a vigorous new school. His last (comic) opera “Falstaff” (1893), by many considered his greatest work, led Italian musicians in his own direction. Verdi’s sacred works include the “Manzoni Requiem” (1874) and “Quattro Pezzi Sacri” (1898), his final composition.
He died in Milan, January 27, 1901.