Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

'Viva Verdi!'

Donald Macleod investigates the role of Verdi's operas in Italy's fight for independence and the challenges he faced in his battle with the Austrian censors.

Donald Macleod investigates the challenges facing Verdi, while Italy was under Austrian rule, as he tried to cope with the strict censorship applied to operas such as Rigoletto and Un ballo in maschera, and the role played by Nabucco and La battaglia di Legnano in the movement for the unification of Italy. In the turbulent years of the 19th century, when Italy was struggling to gain independence from its Austrian rulers, Verdi's patriotic choruses seemed to embody the spirit of the movement for the unification of Italy, and an entire mythology has grown up around Verdi as hero of the Risorgimento. Donald Macleod investigates the role Verdi's music was thought to have played in Italy's fight for freedom, and the challenges he faced in his own battle with the Austrian censors.

Questa o quella' (Rigoletto)
Duke ..... Roberto Alagna (tenor)
Orchestra of La Scala, Milan Conductor, Riccardo Muti

'Va pensiero' (Nabucco)
Chorus and Orchestra of Deutsche Oper, Berlin
Conductor, Giuseppe Sinopoli

La battaglia di Legnano (extract from Act I)
Arrigo ..... José Carreras (tenor)
Rolando ..... Matteo Manuguerra (baritone)
ORF Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Vienna
Conductor, Lamberto Gardelli

È il sol dell'anima (Rigoletto)
Duke ..... Roberto Alagna (tenor)
Gilda ..... Andrea Rost (soprano)
Orchestra of La Scala, Milan
Conductor, Riccardo Muti

Rigoletto (extract from Act II)
Rigoletto ..... Renato Bruson (baritone)
Gilda ..... Andrea Rost (soprano)
Orchestra of La Scala, Milan
Conductor, Riccardo Muti

Un ballo in maschera (extract from Act II)
Amelia ..... Margaret Price (soprano)
Riccardo ..... Luciano Pavarotti (tenor)
Renato ..... Renato Bruson (baritone)
National Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor, George Solti.

1 hour

Music Played

  • Giuseppe Verdi

    Rigoletto Act I: Questa o quella

    Conductor: Riccardo MUTI Performer: Roberto ALAGNA - Tenor (Duke) Performer: La Scala Chorus Performer: La Scala Orchestra

    • SONY CLASSICAL.
    • S2K-66314.
  • Giuseppe Verdi

    Nabucco - Part 3, Scene 2: 'Va pensiero'

    Conductor: Giuseppe SINOPOLI Performer: Berlin State Opera Chorus Performer: Berlin State Opera Orchestra

    • DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON.
    • 413321-2.
  • Giuseppe Verdi

    La battaglia di Legnano - Act I: opening ('Viva Italia!' to the Giuramento)

    Conductor: Lamberto GARDELLI Performer: Jose CARRERAS - Tenor (Arrigo) Performer: Matteo MANUGUERRA - Baritone (Rolando) Performer: Austrian R S O Performer: Austrian Radio Chorus

    • PHILIPS.
    • 422-436.
  • Giuseppe Verdi

    Rigoletto: Act I No.5 - 'È il sol dell'anima, la vita è amore'

    Conductor: Riccardo MUTI Performer: Andrea ROST - Soprano (Gilda) Performer: Antonio de GOBBI - Bass Performer: Roberto ALAGNA - Tenor (Duke) Performer: La Scala Chorus Performer: La Scala Orchestra

    • SONY CLASSICAL.
    • S2K-66314.
  • Giuseppe Verdi

    Rigoletto: end of Act II - No.10 Scene and Duet

    Conductor: Riccardo MUTI Performer: Andrea ROST - Soprano (Rigoletto) Performer: Renato BRUSON - Baritone (Gilda) Performer: La Scala Chorus Performer: La Scala Orchestra

    • SONY CLASSICAL.
    • S2K-66314.
  • Giuseppe Verdi

    Ballo in Maschera: Act II - from 'Ahime! S'appressa alcun!'

    Conductor: Georg SOLTI Performer: Luciano PAVAROTTI - Tenor (Riccardo) Performer: Margaret PRICE - Soprano (Amelia) Performer: Renato BRUSON - Baritone (Renato) Performer: National Philharmonic Orchestra

    • DECCA.
    • 425-529.

Broadcasts

Composers A to Z

Composers A to Z

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

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

The composer of Jerusalem was very far from the conservative figure his image suggests.

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

What is the strange power of Jerusalem which makes strong men weep?

Composer Help Page

Composer Help Page

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