Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)
Donald Macleod explores the operas of Verdi.
Donald Macleod explores the operas of Verdi; the themes of honour, family and doomed love found in his very first operatic effort, Oberto, and in more mature masterpieces, such as Rigoletto. Verdi only made two forays into 'exotic' subject-matter - Nabucco, his 3rd opera, and Aida, his 30th. Nabucco was Verdi's artistic break-through - a tremendous success, it made his name in Italy and all over Europe.
Aida, written towards the other end of his long career, confirmed his reputation as the pre-eminent Italian composer of his day. Verdi's opera, Don Carlos is an epic tale of thwarted love that poses epic problems for directors. The historical Don Carlos was a tortured, tragic and misshapen young man in 16th-century Spain. Verdi's grand operatic version of his life, based on a play by Schiller, had one of the most tortuous and protracted histories in all opera. As a result there are no fewer than eight possible 'authentic' versions of the score. But for Verdi, Shakespeare was 'the great poet of the human heart' and the greatest of all playwrights, whom he sometimes referred to simply as 'Papa'. Donald Macleod concludes his exploration of Verdi's operas with his Shakespearean trio: Macbeth, Otello and Falstaff.