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Giuseppe Verdi:
What's an Opera?

An opera is like a play in which the characters sing all their lines. Opera singers do not use microphones -- their voices are trained, and can fill a whole theater with sound without any amplification. All operas have solo singers and an orchestra -- and a lot of operas have a chorus, too. Operas have been written in many different languages, including English.

Other shows about Giuseppe Verdi:
Famous Instrumental Music from Opera
About Giuseppe Verdi
The Story of Aida
What's it like to be an Opera Singer?

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About Giuseppe Verdi
10/10/1813 - 1/27/1901
Born in Italy

Giuseppe Verdi was born in the Italian town of Le Roncole. When he showed early talent, a music-loving grocer paid for his music education.

Back then, Italy was not a united country, and a lot of it was under Austrian rule. Nabucco, one of the earliest operas that Verdi wrote, included a chorus of Hebrew slaves longing for their country "so beautiful and lost." Italians latched onto Verdi's "Chorus of Hebrew Slaves" as an unofficial anthem for a nation that wasn't even born yet.

Verdi and his music became part of the Italian struggle for independence. Even his name became a political statement. The letters V-E-R-D-I are the first letters of the phrase "Vittorio Emanuele, Rei D'Italia," which translates to "Victor Emanuel, King of Italy." Victor Emanuel was the man Italians wanted to be their ruler. When Italians shouted "Viva Verdi (long live Verdi)!" their Austrian rulers didn't know that they were talking politics, not opera, because the Austrians knew how much the Italians loved opera.

Verdi was one of the greatest opera composers who ever lived, and one of the few composers to die rich and famous!

See other composers born in Italy


This Week's Quiz:

1. Unlike a play, in an opera, the music never stops.



2.What is the highest natural male voice in opera?




3. What is the highest natural female voice?






Giuseppe Verdi

Composed in 1871
Performed by Slovak Philharmonic Choir, Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
Oliver Dohnányi, conductor

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