Sorry, this episode is not currently available on BBC iPlayer Radio

High Noon

Donald Macleod explores Verdi's later life and music when, after years of honing his craft, he unleashed an outpouring of innovative masterworks that would propel opera from the world of the 19th century into the modern age. It wasn't a smooth road, though, and the aging composer had to be persuaded out of retirement several times as he found himself increasingly at odds with the world around him.

Having written 16 operas in 11 years at the height of his productivity, he then dedicated much of his time to accumulating and cultivating a huge estate, with the help of his second wife, Giuseppina Strepponi. Their relationship began in Paris, and while this was an intensely creative period during which Verdi composed some of his best-loved works - Rigoletto, Il Trovatore and La Traviata - it was also a difficult time for him privately, the unmarried couple facing scandal when they moved back to the small Italian town of Bussetto.

Release date:

1 hour

Last on

Mon 7 Oct 2013 12:00

Composer Help Page


Find resources and contacts for composers from within the classical music industry.

Take a tour of Ravel's house

At Ravel's house at Montfort l'Amaury

Sara Mohr-Pietsch reveals Ravel's character in his exquisitely-decorated house near Paris

The absurdly talented Herr Mendelssohn


Donald Macleod reveals Mendelssohn's gift for sketching and watercolours.

Composers A to Z


Visit the extensive audio archive of Radio 3 programmes about Composers and their works.