VERDI (1813-1901)
Giuseppi Verdi was born in Roncole between Piacenza and Parma in Northern Italy. He started music lessons at a young age, and, when he was twenty, moved to Milan to further his studies including attending concerts and opera. The Milan Conservatory bears his name today (almost certainly because he was turned down there as a student.)
After his studies, he returned to his home town as town music master. There he fell in love with and married one of his students – tragically his two children died in infancy and his wife died soon after. Following this and the failure of his first opera, he came close to giving up composition altogether. Verdi was persuaded soon after to write his opera “Nabucco” based on the biblical Nebuchadnezzar, and its success was to make him famous. He was to become, and still is to this day, one of the world’s most respected composers of opera. His operas fill opera houses all over the world e.g. Rigoletto, Il Trovatore, La Traviata, Force of Destiny, Silician Vespres, Don Carlos, Otello, Boccanegra, Aida, Falstaff – the list of his master pieces goes on and on.
His funeral in Milan was a major event with hundreds of thousands of people lining the streets, singing the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves, and he was the first non-French person to receive the Légion d’Honneur.

Un giorno di Regno (A One Day Reign - often translated as “King for a Day”) was his second opera, and its failure in 1840 came close to causing Verdi to compose no more music for opera - he had been working on the comedy at a time when his two children and then his wife had died.
The overture was one of the test pieces for the 2014 World Championship.

Sicilian Vespres is a five-act Italian opera originally written in French for the Paris Opera by Italian Giuseppe Verdi, and translated into Italian shortly after its premiere in June 1855.
The story is loosely based on a historical event - the successful rebellion on the island of Sicily that broke out at Easter 1282 against the rule of the French-born king Charles I
st. Three thousand French men and women were slain by the rebels, and the government of King Charles lost control of the island. It was the beginning of the War of the Sicilian Vespers.