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Verdi’s Places – The Master between Paris and Sant’Agata

After the triumph of Nabucco, the road to success was leveled to Verdi, who began to compose operas, almost one for year for the next ten years. Verdi himself, however, called this period “the years of jail“, because mostly of works was carried out on commission, to be completed quickly and often not supported by a genuine inspiration (source: Wikipedia.it).

Then was the turn of so-called “popular trilogy”, in which Verdi proved to be innovative and to be able to achieve unprecedented levels of psychological introspection. The three works written between 1851 and 1853 (Rigoletto, Il Trovatore and La Traviata) confirmed Verdi as the greatest Italian opera composer of his time, as well as being now considered three absolute masterpieces of world opera.

After some experiences abroad and in major Italian cities, the desire to lead a life of quiet and secluded led Verdi (who in the meantime had remarried) to buy a manor in Sant’Agata, near Villanova, surrounded by a farm, and to go there with his wife Josephine. The Master became a landowner, demonstrating a passion for agriculture, breeding and management of his lands.

Sant'Agata Manor Giuseppe Verdi Villanova

Source: piacenzamusei.it

Verdi nourished a true love for the countryside: his shy and reserved personality was looking for quiet and a humble and sober setting. Although he was fascinated by the cultural vitality of Paris, the French capital for him was too chaotic, its inhabitants too “crazy” (as Verdi used to define the Parisians), and every time he was living in Paris, soon born in him the desire to abandon it.

Giuseppe Verdi at Sant'Agata Manor in Villanova

Source: arezzo.it

Sant’Agata is therefore the place that reflects the personality of the Master: the care that he devoted in designing it are evidence of how important it was for him. It was ultimately the place where he spent most of his life, managing the land and walking through the luxuriant gardens.

But luckily he never stopped composing: reached the economic prosperity, the following years were those of human and artistic maturation. After a series of works that did not reach the expected success (there were years of great change in the culture and tastes of the public), the stylistic evolution of Verdi culminated in two masterpieces of modernity, Don Carlos and Aida.

The composition of Aida was also a chance for reconciliation with the city of Parma, where Verdi had received at the beginning of his career, bitter disappointments. After participating in a contest and have made ​​an impression on the examiners, in fact, Verdi began to feed the real hope of being able to stage one of his works in Parma, or at least be able to play at the concert on the occasion of the birthday of Maria Luigia. However, his requests were always rejected, or even ignored.

Sant'Agata Manor Giuseppe Verdi in Villanova

Source: villaverdi.org

It was due to the closure demonstrated by Parma against him that Verdi decided to move to Milan, where he began his brilliant career. Once he had achieved success with Nabucco, the city of Parma decided to recognize his talent and to welcome him with all the honors. But Verdi proved always loath to organize shows in the capital of the Dukedom, a sign that the old wounds were not completely healed.

It was thanks to Aida that the Master rejoined our cities:

The show in Parma, set in the early days of April ’72, succeeded without a doubt one of the best. The city showed himself grateful to Verdi and covered him with honors. It was a decisive approach. The Master knew that times had changed and that he owed ​​something also to its neighbors ” (Source: “Verdi. Life and Journeys”, curated by G. Marchesi e M. Pasi).

This gives us the opportunity to speak, in the next article, how the figure of Verdi remained indelibly marked in the minds of the parmesans, so much so that today it is impossible for those who visit Parma, not to run continuously in the places related to the Master throughout the city.

(to be continued…)





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