Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Rigoletto

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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