The Life of Verdi

The Life of Verdi by John Rosselli

A useful biography of Verdi, that seems to hit the main points. His early life and works, up to the his innovative works, such as Rigoletto and beyond. How he kept on working until very late in life, his last works Otello and Falstaff coming in his late 70s. These also show his interest in Shakespeare, only starting to become available in Italian in the mid 19th century. He saw his work as one number, weaving the different musical trends together to make dramatic points. The use of La donna è mobile by the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto is one example. A common theme of much of his work is his trouble with censors — something unique to opera, not being relevant to pure orchestral works. In his early days, he was dealing with Austrian censors. I’d like to understand more about his role in the Risorgimento. Finally, it’s interesting to wonder if contemporary changes in copyright law had an impact on his productivity, these made it more feasible to make money from composing.

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