Verdi, Giuseppe (Fortunino Francesco )
- Roger Parker
(Fortunino Francesco )
(b Roncole, nr Busseto, 9/Oct 10, 1813; d Milan, Jan 27, 1901). Italian composer. By common consent he is recognized as the greatest Italian musical dramatist.
A month after Verdi's death, a solemn procession through Milan accompanied by hundreds of thousands of mourners assisted the transfer of his remains to their final resting place. The procession was sent on its way by a rendition of ‘Va pensiero’, the chorus of Hebrew slaves from one of Verdi's earliest operas, Nabucco.
It is easy to see why this event has captured the imagination and assumed significance. By the time of his death, Verdi had established a unique position among his fellow countrymen: although many of his operas had disappeared from the repertory, he had nevertheless become a profound artistic symbol of the nation's achievement of statehood. Parts of his operatic legacy had entered into a kind of empyrean, divorced from the checks and balances of context and passing fashion. The fact that ‘Va pensiero’, written some 60 years earlier, could express contemporary Italians' feelings for their departed hero demonstrated the extent to which Verdi's music had been assimilated into the national consciousness....