Verdi’s Music Keeps Playing, In Opera Houses and Online

Surely one of the greatest honors for any artist is for his or her work to survive long after the artist’s death. Such is the case for the great Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi. Though yesterday (January 27) was the anniversary of his death in 1901, his operas continue to be heard and performed throughout the world.

Opera houses continue to stage productions of his work, and his work is even being performed in ways that take advantage of modern technology, ways Verdi could never have imagined. On January 7th of this year, the Royal Opera House of London broadcast a Royal Opera LIVE event online, in which viewers could watch ten hours of uninterrupted footage from backstage at the Royal Opera House. As part of this event, and to celebrate Verdi’s 200th birthday this year, the Opera House invited people from all over the world to submit video of themselves singing Verdi’s Va Pensiero from the opera Nabucco. Video submissionsGiuseppe_Verdi00 came in from all over the world, capturing people performing Verdi’s music in diverse places such as The Sydney Opera House, the Kyoto Imperial Palace, and one woman’s kitchen while she prepares Christmas dinner. These performances were broadcast as part of the Royal Opera LIVE event, and can still be seen on Youtube and the website of the Royal Opera House. Furthermore, some of the best moments from the submissions will be incorporated into a new commissioned work by  British composer Elspeth Brooke inspired by Va Pensiero. The new composition will debut later this year.

This was just the first of many celebrations of Verdi planned for this year, the 200th anniversary of his birth on October 10, 1813. The Vienna State Opera, in Vienna, Austria, for example, will be staging a number of Verdi operas this year, including La Traviatta and Rigoletto. Verdi’s works will be performed around the world, in places as diverse as Munich, Helsinki, and Shanghai. These events not only pay tribute to Verdi, but show that opera continues to be a vital and important art form, even if it is not as popular as it once was. They also show that great art can transcend time and popular styles, resonating with people even centuries after the art was first created.

To learn more about Giuseppe Verdi, his life, and his contributions to the world of music, check out Giuseppe Verdi and Italian Opera by William Schoell (ISBN #978-159935-041-7) from your local library, or purchase it from Morgan Reynolds Publishing. Then check out our Classical Composers series, featuring biographies on Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel, Fanny Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann, and Johann Sebastian Bach.

Josh Barrer,

Associate Editor

Published in: on January 28, 2013 at 11:26 am  Leave a Comment  
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