Thursday, October 10, 2013

Giuseppe Verdi, 1813-1901

Today is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi, perhaps the greatest pop tunesmith of the nineteenth century. The video above shows the chorus va pensiero sull ali dorate, or the "Hebrew Slaves' Chorus," from his opera Nabucco. The opera company and venue aren't identified, but the set looks like that of the Metropolitan Opera production I saw some years ago. When I saw the Met's Nabucco, at the close of this chorus someone in the audience yelled Viva Italia! A friend later told me that va pensiero is considered "the unofficial Italian national anthem."

  This video is of the triumphal march from Verdi's Aida, at the Metropolitan Opera in 1989. This march, which I first heard on the Columbia Records album Classical Music for People Who Hate Classical Music, bought by my parents when I was about eight, provided the soundtrack for my most grandiose childhood fantasies.

Update: WQXR is celebrating Verdi Week.