The Italian Almanac


Giuseppe Verdi

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Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi
(1813 - 1901)

Giuseppe Verdi came of poor parents in Roncole of Busseto on the 10th of October 1813. He soon developed an inclination to music, his first teacher was Pietro Baistrocchi, Roncole organist; he practised playing a modest spinet while helping his parents with their shop, a modest tavern; at twelve he went to Busseto and started working for the shop-keeper Barezzi, who then became his protector, while also studying music with the band teacher Provesi and latin with the canon Seletti.

He went to Milan thanks to a pawnshop grant and Barezzi's financial support: at ninetten he tried to enter the conservatory, however he was not admitted(!!!), he thus continued his studies with the teacher Lavigna. When he came back to Busseto he was assigned music composer of the municipality and conductor of the band. In 1835 he married his protector's daughter Margherita Barezzi who died together with their two children during the 1838-1840 years in Milan, where the Verdi family has moved.

His first opera was "Oberto Conte di San Bonifacio" (1839) successfully performed at the La Scala Theatre in Milan. His second opera "Un giorno di regno"(1840)a comic work, was a complete fiasco thus adding more pain to the family misfortune.

His extraordinary production of works began just at that time. His untiring and prodigious activity did not succomb even to the old age which he spent in Villa Sant'Agata, very close to Busseto, together with the inseparable and faithful Giuseppina Strepponi, who had been living with him since 1849. Giuseppe Verdi died in Milan on the 27th of the January 1901 and he was burried in the Home for Musicians he himself founded.