Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Life and Operas of Verdi


Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901) is still the most popular composer in the 400-year-old history of opera. His operas are produced more than any other composer's, and one (admittedly unverifiable) source claims that his La traviata (1853) has been staged live somewhere around the world every evening for the past 100 years.

The Details

In this 32-lecture series, Professor Robert Greenberg explores both famous and not-so-famous Verdi operas, his Requiem Mass of 1874 – his one great concert work; his early songs; and his very last composition, the Stabat Mater.

Trace his development from a more or less conventional composer of operas in the traditional Italian bel canto (“beautifully sung”) style to a creator of truly innovative musical dramas in which the power of music to intensify and explore human emotion is exploited to the fullest degree.

“Verdi was a great dramatist and a great melodist at the same time, whose artistic evolution never ceased across the 50-year span of his career.”

—Professor Greenberg


The course structure is chronological, allowing you to follow easily the developing patterns in Verdi’s work. Combining biography with a variety of musical excerpts, Professor Greenberg presents a memorable mixture of “sights to see and things to think about along the way.”

The Life and Operas of Verdi Lectures

  1. La Bell’Italia
  2. Beginnings
  3. Orberto
  4. Nabucco
  5. Nabucco, Conclusion, and Risorgimento
  6. I Lombardi
  7. I Lombardi, Conclusion, and Ernani
  8. Macbeth
  9. I masnadieri
  10. Luisa Miller and Rigoletto
  11. Rigoletto, Act I continued
  12. Rigoletto, Acts I, II, and III
  13. Rigoletto, Act III continued
  14. Rigoletto, Conclusion and Il trovatore
  15. Il trovatore, Conclusion, and La traviata
  16. Un ballo in maschera
  17. Un ballo in maschera, Conclusion
  18. La forza del destino
  19. Don Carlo
  20. Don Carlo, Conclusion
  21. Aida
  22. Aida, Conclusion
  23. The Requiem
  24. The Requiem, Conclusion
  25. Otello
  26. Otello, Conclusion; Falstaff
  27. Falstaff, Act I, Sc. 1
  28. Falstaff, Act I, Sc. 1, Conclusion; Sc. 2
  29. Falstaff, Act I, Sc. 2, Conclusion; Act II, Sc. 1
  30. Falstaff, Act II, Sc. 1 Conclusion; Sc. 2
  31. Falstaff, Act II, Sc. 2 continued
  32. Falstaff, Act II, Conclusion; Act III