Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Rigoletto

Dr. Bob Prescribes Giuseppe Verdi – Rigoletto

Giuseppe Verdi and Teatro la Fenice Yesterday’s Music History Monday post – entitled “The Phoenix Rises” was about Venice’s fabled opera house, the Teatro la Fenice, “The Phoenix Theater.” Among the many operatic premieres that the Fenice has seen on its boards are five – count ‘em, five – by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901): Ernani (1844); Attila (1846); Rigoletto (1851); La Traviata (1853); and Simon Boccanegra (1857).   These operas are no strangers to this Patreon page. My Music History Monday post for March 6, 2017, focused on the 164th anniversary of the (disastrous) premiere of La Traviata, which took place at the Fenice on March 6, 1853.  My Dr. Bob Prescribes post for May 11, 2021, focused on Verdi’s fifth opera, Ernani, which received its premiere at the Fenice on March 9, 1844.  Today’s post will focus on yet another of Verdi’s Teatro la Fenice premieres, that of Rigoletto, which took place on March 11, 1851.  Specifically, this post will focus on how Verdi managed to get a highly charged political story past the Venetian/Austrian censors and into production.  (For our information: Austria ruled Venice and its home province of Veneto until 1866 when, after the Third Italian War of […]

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

Giuseppe Verdi’s first opera, “Oberto”, was produced at Milan’s famed Teatro alla Scala in 1839 when Verdi was 26 years old. Oberto’s modest success was completely obscured by the domestic disasters Verdi suffered between 1838 and 1840 when, in the span of 22 months, he lost both his small children and he beloved wife Margherita to disease. Paralyzed by grief, Verdi swore he’d never compose again. But compose he did: egged on, cajoled, wheedled and finally browbeaten by Bartolomeo Merelli – the director of La Scala – Verdi completed his second opera “Un giorno di regno” (“King for a Day”) and composed his third opera, “Nabucco”, about which I blogged on September 20. (Bartolomeo Merelli was an astute businessman, but in his actions towards Verdi, he was also a GREAT AND BRILLIANT man. Merelli’s love for and belief in Verdi very probably kept Verdi alive, and his intransigence towards Verdi the artist kept Verdi composing at a time when he would most likely have quit forever. That would have been a disaster of such magnitude that its mere contemplation loosens my bladder. So please, three cheers for Bartolomeo Merelli who was, in fact, one of music history’s indispensible men.) (While […]

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