- Radio Times
- Review by:
- David Gillard
Giuseppe Verdi was undoubtedly the greatest Italian opera composer of his day, heir to Bellini, Rossini and Donizetti and the inspiration for a new generation of verismo (realism) composers, led by Puccini.
Verdi was born 200 years ago in October and Radio 3 marks the bicentenary with a year-long celebration of the man and his music, including performances of all his operas. This feature concentrates on Verdi the nationalist and his so-called Risorgimento (Resurgence) operas.
Italy had been divided up after the Napoleonic wars and Verdi was a fervent supporter of reunification. Many of his opera choruses were seen as blatantly patriotic and, by the 1850s, his audiences’ enthusiastic chant of “Viva Verdi” was widely interpreted as the acronym for Vittorio Emanuele, Re d’Italia — Victor Emmanuel, King of Italy.
About this programme
In an extended Sunday Feature to mark the start of Radio 3's Verdi 200 coverage, Roger Parker traces the complex reception history of Verdi's so-called Risorgimento operas. He asks what it reveals about the function of opera in Italian society in the 19th century, its role in the cultural nation-building that took place after 1861, and indeed Verdi himself. With contributions from conductor Mark Elder, director Graham Vick, musicologists Emanuele Senici and Susan Rutherford, Milan-based novelist and commentator Tim Parks, and Lucy Riall, a specialist in the Risorgimento.
Cast and crew
- Emma Bloxham