Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Nabucco

Music History Monday: Unspeakable Catastrophe and Unqualified Triumph!

We mark the first performance on March 9, 1842 – 178 years ago today – of Giuseppe Verdi’s third opera and first operatic masterwork, Nabucco, at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan. Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi (1813-1901) was born on either the ninth or tenth of October 1813, in the north-central Italian village of Le Roncole in the Duchy of Parma.  At the time, the Duchy of Parma was part of Napoleon’s “First French Empire” and as such Verdi’s birth name was recorded in French as “Joseph Fortunin François”. Thus, this great Italian patriot was born– much to his later annoyance – as a citizen of France. Verdi’s family moved to nearby Busseto when he was still a child, and it was there that Verdi acquired the padrone – the patron – who would shape his life: a wealthy merchant named Antonio Barezzi. Barezzi paid for Verdi’s musical education, arranged for Verdi’s first full-time music position (as Busetto’s “town music master”), and sponsored Verdi’s first public performance. But even more, Antonio Barezzi “gave” Verdi the greatest gift any father can give, and that was the hand of his daughter Margherita; the two were married on May 4, 1836. Margherita in turn […]

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Celebrating Verdi’s 200th — Life and Operas of Verdi: Nabucco

We understand a “eureka moment” as being a revelatory, paradigm-shifting realization that has the power to change EVERYTHING. The word “eureka” comes from the ancient Greek word εὕρηκα, which means “I have found it!” The ancient Greco-dude credited with coining the exclamation “eureka!” was the mathematician, astronomer, physicist, engineer, inventor and Jeopardy!-freak Archimedes (circa 287 BCE – circa 212 BCE). Archimedes purportedly shrieked “EUREKA” when, having stepped into his bath and noticed that the water level rose, he realized that the volume of water he displaced was equal to the volume of his body that was submerged in the water. A nanosecond (or two) later, he then realized that he had solved what had long been considered an unsolvable problem: how to accurately measure the volume of an irregular object. According to legend, Archimedes was so excited by his “eureka moment” that he jumped out of the tub and ran naked through the streets of his native city of Syracuse, there on the southeastern coast of Sicily. We suspect he would have thought twice about doing so had he made his discovery during a winter’s evening in Medicine Hat, Alberta. I trust we’ve all had a “eureka moment”. Mine occurred […]

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