After Bellini, Donizetti and Rossini, was Verdi the one to dominate Italian opera?
Verdi’s music transcended the boundaries of the genre. His music was revolutionary and gave people courage through elegance.
What role did he play in Italian nationalism?
Verdi is considered the musical father of the Risorgimento. Alongside Garibaldi and Cavour, he remained politically and culturally engaged with the reunification of Italy.
How does Verdi strike a chord with modern audiences?
He’s being celebrated in Europe, Australia, Japan and US. His themes of love, merrymaking,
jealousy, intrigue, sickness are human.
Why do Shakespearean themes figure in so many of his compositions?
He was a romantic composer drawn to Shakespeare’s directness and brutality.
Was Nabucco the turning point in his career?
Yes. In that period, he shot to fame with Lombardi, Ernani and Macbeth. He also created his masterpiece Rigoletto.
Are his operas a staple of the repertoire?
Except Puccini, no composer of Italian opera has managed to match Verdi’s popularity.
You’ve conducted 200 orchestras. How does Verdi inspire your music?
No one expressed the elementary constant and profound dynamics of passion better.
Which is your favourite Verdi composition?
Othello—the greatest tragic opera, with beautiful, expressive music and rich characterisation.
If Verdi was born today, would he still have opted for opera?
Absolutely. He was born to make waves, create this music that comes only once in a lifetime.
How tough was it getting together musicians from Italy, Bangalore, Delhi, Calcutta and Darjeeling for the orchestra?
These musicians are talented and knew how to bring the universal spirit of Verdi alive. Somewhere, he must be smiling.