Giuseppe Verdi Biography

Verdi’s childhood

Giuseppe Verdi was born in Le Roncole, Italy, in the Parma region on 10th October, 1813. His father was Carlo Verdi and mother, Luiggia Uttini. His family was not well off, and had limited resources of survival. From his humble beginnings, Verdi had a flare for music. He was born during turbulent times when Parma was in the control of Napoleon armies. At 13 years, he was encouraged by a merchant concerning his studies.

How Verdi developed an interest in music

His interest in music developed from the fact that he enjoyed music played at his church. As a result, he was bought an old beat-up spinet at the age of seven years (Budden 25). He attended Provesi music school at ten years. He became an assistant conductor of Busetto in 1925. Having learnt the basics of instrumental proficiency and composition, Verdi left Provesi’s school when he was twenty years, and got a benefactor called Antonio Barezzi. However, age caught up with him, and he was later rejected from the conservatory in Milan.

Despite the rejection, Verdi continued staying in Milan and took his studies privately. While at Milan, he discovered opera. In addition, he learnt a lot of other performances that he was capable of attending, which enabled him to lay a strong foundation for his career in music.

Verdi’s youth and career

Verdi returned to Busetto in 1936 and got married in the same year to Margerita. He made the first composition the same year entitled Rochester. His career was threatened by immediate tragedies including the passing away of his son and wife. With a lot of encouragements, he continued with his career by composing Nabucco, which provided the impetus for his success. Therefore, he dedicated more effort in developing his career. At 38 years, he fell in love with Giuseppina whom he finally married in 1957 (De Van 65).

He then produced Rigoletto, which gave him a lot of breakthroughs in music. He premiered Aida in 1974. Thereafter, he changed from operatic music to non-operatic one. He produced Otello and finally Falstaff in 1893. He then retired from work and went back home where he died after suffering a massive stroke.

Frankfurt School vs. Chicago School on contemporary culture as an industry

The Frankfurt School refers to a group of scholars who identified with the Marxist ideology, and who were forced into exile in New York in 193 by the Nazi-led government in Germany (Wiggershaus 1994). They only returned to Frankfurt in 1950. Theodor Adorno, along with Max Horkheimer and Herbert Marcuse were the three prominent members of the Frankfurt School. The members were especially concerned with the link between the working classes and the notion of the “mass media as a culture industry” (Lewis, 2002). Particularly, the Chicago School was interested in popular media and popular culture texts. On the other hand, the Chicago School differed from the Frankfurt School in the sense that its members assumed a comparatively less rigorous method in as far as the exposition of the mass media in American was concerned (Horkheimer & Adorno 2002). Whereas the Frankfurt School paid more attention to mass culture along with its inclination towards social control, in contrast, the Chicago School was engulfed in the orderly and significantly postulated critique of the culture in which the group operated and in the modern culture as well.


Verdi has achieved a lot in the area of music, film, and theatre. He is well known for various music compositions and for directing a number of performances. In addition, he worked as a church musician while he was going on with his studies at Milan. He produced the Oberto, which was the first great success for him (Budden 37). However, the second opera, Un giorno di regno of 1940 became a total failure. Nonetheless, Verdi did not get discouraged and continued building his career. He strongly believed in his abilities and refused to allow fate to determine the future his career. His other successes included the production of Lombardi in 1943 when he was still in Milan. Verdi was a strong proponent for democratic rule and campaigned against authoritarianism within the government and the church in Italy. His operas focused on liberation that would result into patriotism, individual freedom, nobility of man’s spirit and loyalty (Parker 43). He achieved these through his various compositions of operas.

In addition, Verdi supervised the production of Ernami in Paris in the year 1846. In the same year, he produced another opera called Attila. Attila was very successful and motivated Verdi in his work. He went to Florence in 1847 in order to oversee the opening of his first opera based on Macbith. He started working on I masnadieri in 1946. He made a lot of travels pursuing success in his career. For example, he traveled to Venice, Milan, Florence, Balogna, Paris and Naples to supervise and produce career related activities (Parker 74).

In 1948, Verdi produced Luisa Miller that marked the turning point of his career. He got international recognition when he produced Rigoletto. Indeed, he was a successful husband of Giusseppina after the death of his first wife. He represented Busseto in the chamber of disputes in 1860 of Italy and his name was widely used as an anagram VERDI to mean “Victor Immanuel, King of Italy” (De Van 56). He composed in 1982 in lieu of the international Exhibition in London and later became a member of the “French Academie des Beaux-Arts.” He was also known for beginning music for Don Carlo. Moreover, Verdi composed a requiem mass for a renowned artist called Rossini.

Additional Achievements

In addition, he made a number of collaborations in his work that further enhanced the success in his career. Verdi collaborated with Arrigo Boito despite their age difference. His interest was the vast knowledge that Boito had in writing letters and composing songs. Both of them aimed to leave a mark in the field of opera, which indeed they achieved. Through the collaboration, Verdi did the Otello in 1886 that created a lot of sensation. His final achievement culminated in Falstaff, marking his achievement in comic opera. Falstaff was completed in 1893. After the death of his wife in 1897, Verdi produced choral pieces such as Ave Maria, Te Deum, Stabat Mater and Laudi alla Vergine Maria (De Van 46). During this time, he was living in seclusion. He finally died in Milan in 1901.

The Legacy

His legacy lay on the fact that Italian opera was based on the human voice. He analyzed human passion psychologically. His work was characterized by music, thus making his productions become one of the finest creations in the 18th century. His work has become and remained to be the basis of international opera collections (Parker 94).

Work Cited

Budden, Julian. The Operas of Verdi, Volume II (3rd ed.). London: Oxford University Press, 1973. Print.

De Van, Gilles. Verdi's Theater: Creating Drama through Music. London: University of Chicago Press, 1998. Print.

Parker, Roger (1992). The New Grove Dictionary of Opera. In ed. Stanley Sadie. The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, 1992. Print.

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