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Famous pieces from the operas of Giuseppe Verdi

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

Memorable interpretations

Va', pensiero, sull'ali dorate ...

It is one of the best-known choirs in the history of opera: placed in the third part of Nabucco (1842), it evokes the poignant lament of the Jews imprisoned in Babylon.

On the day of the funeral of Maestro Verdi, people crowded along the streets of Milan wanted to pay homage to the great artist, intoning the "Va', pensiero" in a succession of spontaneous choirs that accompanied the passage of the hearse.

Could not miss this poignant version of "Va', pensiero" interpreted by the famous trumpeter Marco Pierobon and dedicated to all the victims of Covid-19 and to all the health care workers who have fought and struggle every day to safeguard the health of all of us. The video was shot on May 3, 2020 in the symbolic places of one of the cities most affected by the tragedy of the Covid-19 pandemic. The images open on the bench with the famous bronze statue of Giuseppe Verdi located in Piazza San Francesco between the suggestive recently restored church and the Casa della Musica that normally is a lively artistic and cultural crossroads, while in those days of 2020 it simply was a metaphysical space surrounded by silence, so such as Piazza del Duomo, the colonnade of the Teatro Regio and Piazza Garibaldi. Maestro Pierobon's trumpet intones the notes of "Va', pensiero" that seems to fly through the empty streets and squares of Parma to ideally reach the hearts of the whole planet. The expressive power of music expresses the deep pain of an entire community, but it also encourages us to react to suffering with its message of hope.

Sì, vendetta, tremenda vendetta! ...

Rigoletto is a hunched and ugly man (in fact he is the court jester of the Duke of Mantua) but with a splendid daughter named Gilda, orphaned of a mother. The girl is kidnapped and seduced by the duke that she loves to surround herself with female beauties and then abandon them to their fate. The event provokes the ire of Rigoletto who intends to do justice in the first person, substituting himself for God. To avenge the outrage suffered by his daughter, he instructs a hitman to kill his master. Unfortunately, due to a series of circumstances, the assassin ends up murdering Gilda who had in vain begged her father to forget everything and give up her thirst for revenge.

La donna è mobile ...

This is also a piece from Rigoletto: the Duke of Mantua is the singer in the last act of the opera. It is one of the most popular pieces from an opera, thanks to its extremely catchy accompaniment. Its trivial character reflects the place, the slums of the city of Mantua, and the situation. With superficial lightness, perfectly embodied by music, the Duke reflects on the personal vision of feminine emptiness and inscrutability, where the woman is seen as a feather in the wind, susceptible to changes both in thoughts and in words at the first change of mood and the course of the events.

Libiamo ne' lieti calici ...

This joyful waltz-time piece is taken from La Traviata, the opera inspired by Alexandre Dumas's play The Lady of the Camellias. The plot tells of Violetta Valery, a woman of the world, well known in the frivolous and party-loving salons of Paris, but also very sick with consumption. During one of these parties, where she toasts to life, to the beauty that flees and to the wine that warms love, she meets Alfredo Germont. An overwhelming passion is ignited between the two which, unfortunately, will have a sad fate due to the worsening of the disease that afflicts the woman, until the dramatic epilogue of her death.


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