||Verdi is born at 8
o'clock in the evening on October 10 (birth
in the Duchy of Parma, then part of Napoleon's Kingdom of Italy.
||After showing an
early interest in music he is given a second-hand spinet.
||He moves to nearby
Busseto to get an education at the 'Ginnasio'.
music with Ferdinando Provesi.
overture to Rossini's Barber of Seville for performance in Busseto.
||First journey to
Milan; the conservatory refuses his admission (!!), and he begins private
sibling, his younger sister Giuseppa, dies at age 17.
Margherita Barezzi, daughter of his Bussetan patron Antonio Barezzi, in
May; becomes 'municipal music master' of Busseto. Lavigna dies in September.
||Daughter Virginia is
born on March 26.
||Son Icilio is born
on July 11; Virginia dies on August 12. His first composition is published:
six rather mournful songs (Sei
romanze). He resigns as 'municipal music master' of Busseto.
||The Verdis move back
to Milan. Icilio dies of bronchial pneumonia on October 22 - the young
parents are heartbroken.
Oberto, Conte di San
Bonifacio premieres at La Scala on November 17 and is shown 14 times
that season to generally favourable reviews. This certainly establishes
Verdi as a serious composer. The Milanese publishing house Casa Ricordi
secures the rights to his next work, and a lifelong (notwithstanding the
later half of the 1840s, were Verdi published mostly with Lucca) and
almost unblemished relationship is formed, spanning the
Ricordi generations from Giovanni (1785-1853) to his son
(1811-1888), Tito's son
(1840-1912) and Giulio's son Tito II (1865-1933). He meets soprano
Strepponi, a staunch supporter in the years to come.
||Margherita dies of
encephalitis on June 18. Verdi loses his zest for life: 'A third coffin goes
out of my house. I was alone! Alone!'. Small wonder then that his buffo
Il finto Stanislao flops miserably at La Scala on September 5, all
further performances are cancelled.
||His third opera
triumphs at La Scala.
Giuseppina Strepponi sings Abigaille.
Lombardi is performed to great success, and Verdi's fame begins to
spread. The choruses from 'Nabucco' (see below) and 'I
Lombardi' are sung in the streets and become the hymns of Italian patriots
and freedom-fighters. The first of many trips abroad takes him to Vienna for
performances of 'Nabucco' at the Kärntnerthor Theater.
||Immense success for
at La Fenice. Only eight months later
due Foscari premieres in Rome.
||Two new operas again:
Giovanna d'Arco, the last premiere at La Scala for more than twenty
years! Verdi is so indignant about the handling of his works by the Scala
management that he categorically forbids Giovanni Ricordi to offer any new
operas of his to that house. (Of course, Verdi's post-1845 operas were
played at La Scala, and usually very successfully too, but they never
premiered there until 1869, with the triumphant opening of the revised 'La
Forza del Destino'.) Verdi doesn't set foot again in Milan (except
briefly in March 1848) until 1868.
opens in Naples. Another
song cycle is published. Verdi buys the
premieres at La Fenice.
in Florence is followed by
Masnadieri in London. Verdi buys
work begins on re-modelling it to his requirements. His relationship with
Strepponi develops in earnest.
Jérusalem is shown in Paris in November.
||In March, the 'cinque giornate'
- five days of fighting in Milan which drive out the Austrian occupying
forces. The Austrian Army succeeds in retaking the city in August, but the
'Risorgimento' gathers momentum. Donizetti dies; with Bellini dead since
1835 and Rossini 'retired' from the opera stage, Verdi is peerless among
Corsaro has its first performance in Trieste.
La Battaglia di
Legnano premieres in Rome at the beginning of the year: another thinly
veiled battle-cry to throw off the chains of foreign rule, the opera is an
immediate and immense success in the political climate of the time. The end
of the year sees the first
Luisa Miller in Naples. Manon Lescaut is just one of the many
remained on the drawing-board in the 1840s...
||Although the music is received
in Trieste is not a roaring success due to the controversial subject of the
libretto. The period usually referred to as Verdi's 'anni di galera' (the
years of hard labour) is drawing to a close.
Rigoletto, the first of what we now call 'the big three: RigTrovTrav',
is a triumph at La Fenice. Verdi and Giuseppina Strepponi move from the
Palazzo Dordoni, situated on the
street of Busseto and right under the eyes of the local moral watchers -
indeed they encounter a great deal of
because they live, unmarried, under one roof - to the greater seclusion of
estate. Verdi's mother Luigia Uttini dies.
Trovatore is a great success in Rome, while the new
flops miserably at La Fenice only seven weeks later. Towards the end of the
year Verdi and Giuseppina move temporarily to Paris.
||Verdi travels to Naples to
supervise the new
in Maschera; however, the problems with the censors turn out to be so
severe that Verdi
withdraws the opera entirely and offers it to Rome.
Un Ballo in Maschera
in Rome is Verdi's biggest success since 'Il Trovatore' six years earlier.
political situation in Italy, split as it is into many states under the
rule of various foreign powers, comes to a head;
VERDI (short for 'Vittorio Emanuele, Re D'Italia')
is seen in Naples for the first time, expressing the fervent desire for a
united and free Italy under King Vittorio Emanuele II of Piedmont. Verdi and
Giuseppina are married on August 29 in
Collonges-sous-Salève near Geneva, in the then Italian part of Savoy
which was part of Piedmont. Verdi
to represent Busseto in the Assembly of Parma provinces.
||The Verdis begin spending the
winter months in the milder climate of Genoa.
||Verdi is elected Deputy for
Borgo San Donnino and attends the opening of the Italian Parliament. In
November, the Verdis travel to St. Petersburg, but the premiere of 'Forza'
is postponed due to illness of the soprano.
Inno delle nazioni
is performed on 24th May at Her Majesty's Theatre, not as written with a
tenor solo but with a soprano singing the part of the bard. Again Verdi
Petersburg to supervise the 'Forza' rehearsals and the successful
premiere of La Forza
del Destino takes place on November 10.
||Begins revision of 'Macbeth' for
Paris. Verdi is elected member of the French Académie des Beaux-Arts.
Florence becomes capital of Italy.
is shown in Paris. Verdi stands down from his parliamentary seat.
||Composes 'Don Carlos'. Parts of
northern Italy are still under Austrian rule and Garibaldi marches into the
Trentino with volunteer forces which include Giulio Ricordi, Franco Faccio
Arrigo Boito. Verdi supports the cause with money to buy guns and
premieres in Paris. Both Carlo Verdi, his father, and Antonio Barezzi, his
early benefactor and first father-in-law, die. Verdi and Giuseppina take on
the guardianship of
Maria Cristina, the 7-year-old daughter of one of Verdi's cousins.
||Verdi meets the revered
in Milan, great Italian man of letters and patriot.
La Forza del Destino
premieres at La Scala. A new opera house is opened in Cairo with a
performance of 'Rigoletto'. Verdi composes the Libera me for the
Messa per Rossini.
||Verdi agrees to compose an opera
for the Egyptian Khedive's new opera house in Cairo (and not for the opening
of the Suez Canal, as is often heard).
||Rome becomes capital of Italy.
The premiere of Aida
is delayed by the Franco-Prussian war. It eventually opens on December 24.
||The European premiere of
Aida takes place
to great acclaim at La Scala on February 8.
||Verdi composes a
String Quartet while in Naples for a revision of 'Don Carlo' (the
Italian form of the title) and a revival of 'Aida'. Manzoni dies on May 22,
and Verdi composes a Requiem Mass for him.
Messa da Requiem
for Manzoni is performed at the Church of San Marco in Milan on May 22, with
Verdi conducting. In the following years he takes the Requiem to many
European cities. Verdi is nominated to the Italian Senate.
||The relationship with Casa
Ricordi is seriously tarnished by the discovery of 'irregularities' in their
accounting. Verdi is furious, but eventually settles for the token sum of 50
000 Lire; it takes a while before friendship and trust resume.
||The 'Otello' project is proposed
by Giulio Ricordi.
||Work on the revision of 'Simon
Boito. The libretto of 'Otello' is taking shape.
Boccanegra premieres at La Scala.
||Verdi begins the revision of
'Don Carlo' for Milan.
||Richard Wagner dies in Venice on
||The revised 4-act
premieres at La Scala. Verdi starts on the composition of 'Otello' and works
in the following years.
in Italian is shown in Modena on 26th December. The composition of 'Otello'
at La Scala on February 5; Verdi is made honorary citizen of Milan three
||He composes 'Laudi alla Vergine
Maria', published 1898 as No.3 of 'Quattro pezzi sacri', and endows a new
for poor farm labourers and their families in Villanova, a village near
infects him with his passion for riddles and he composes 'Ave Maria sulla
scala enigmatica', published 1898 as No.1 of 'Quattro pezzi sacri'. Verdi
decides to compose 'Falstaff' and buys a site in Milan for a musicians'
||'Falstaff' is finished late in
Falstaff premieres at La Scala on February 9, a huge success. Some
lasting revisions are made for the premiere in Rome in April. Verdi is made
honorary citizen of Rome.
||Verdi composes the ballet music
and makes some
adjustments to the Act III concertato for the French premiere of
'Otello' - this is his last trip to Paris and he receives the Grand Cross of
the Legion of Honour. His song 'Pietà, Signor' is published to aid
earthquake victims in Southern Italy.
||The Casa di Riposo is at the
planning stage - the architect is
Boito, Arrigo's elder brother. Verdi begins composing the Te Deum, to be
published as No. 4 of 'Quattro pezzi sacri'.
||Verdi works on 'Te Deum' and
'Stabat mater', No. 2 of 'Quattro pezzi sacri'.
his loving companion for fifty years and untiring supporter through the
invariable ups and downs, dies at Sant'Agata on November 14.
||Verdi now stays at his
suite at the
Grand Hotel in Milan much of the time, supervising the building of the
Casa di Riposo.
(1834-1902) keeps him company in his last years.
Verdi had known 'La Stolz', a soprano from Bohemia, since they
first met thirty years earlier. She created Leonora in the revised
La Forza del Destino 1869, Aida in the European premiere of
Aida 1872, and the
soprano part of the
Messa da Requiem 1874.
Riposo is officially founded.
||Verdi suffers an ultimately
fatal stroke on January 21; the street outside the Grand Hotel is covered
with straw to muffle the noise from horses' hooves, carriage wheels and car
tyres. He dies a few days later, shortly before 3 a.m. on January 27. The
funeral is a very quiet affair, in accordance with his wishes: 'without
music or singing'.
A month later his and Giuseppina's coffins
are transferred from the temporary buriel ground at the cemetery in Milan to
at the Casa di Riposo.
On this occasion - a state ceremony - the
cortege is accompanied not only by the immediate family and friends, but
also by members of the Italian Royal family and Parliament, civic
dignitaries, foreign diplomats and fellow composers (among others
Mascagni, Leoncavallo and Giordano).