(1813-1901) is the most famous composer of
Opera. He was born near Parma, studied in Milan, then returned to his home town
of Busseto as maestro di musica. At the age of 26 he moved
permanently to Milan to concentrate on composing operas, as Milan is the home of
the famous La Scala Opera Company.
He followed the earlier Italian tradition in which the vocal melody is supreme, and the orchestra
unimportant. Some of his major operas are Nabuco, Rigoletto,
and Il Trovatore, and his most famous is La Traviata,
packed full of wonderful melodic arias.
However, in his later works, such as
Othello, Aida and Falstaff, he moved toward more dramatic emphasis and a greater role for the orchestra. His only significant non-operatic work is his Requiem mass.
Verdi became a national hero in Italy, and his operas are still the core of
today's opera house repertory.