Posted by: Frederick Cornwell Sanders | 2013/11/17

“November 17, 1839” By Rick Sanders

Giuseppe Verdi

Giuseppe Verdi (Photo credit: cliff1066™)

The world renowned La Scala opera house in Mil...

The world renowned La Scala opera house in Milan, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1839, Oberto, Giuseppe Verdi‘s first opera, opens at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy. From Wikipedia we read:

Oberto, Conte di San Bonifacio is an opera in two acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Temistocle Solera, based on an existing libretto by Antonio Piazza probably called Rocester.

Contemporary critical reactions to Verdi’s first effort were mixed, as noted by scholar Francis Toye, writing in 1931, when he quoted two Milanese critics:

“The music of this opera,” wrote the paper La Fama, “has much in common with the style of Bellini. There is an abundant, perhaps a too abundant wealth of melody. In some passages where the words demand energy and passion the vocal line is languid and monotonous.” The paper then goes on to praise two arias and a quartet in the second act, a judgment shared by the periodical Figaro which, incidentally, advised the composer to make a further study of the classics. As a matter of fact, the quartet in question may be described as an afterthought, Merelli himself having suggested it when Verdi was making certain alterations in the opera to meet the requirements of the new cast.[15]

Julian Budden comments on the performance reviews of the time, especially one which indicates that Verdi’s music was not inspired by Donizetti, Bellini, Mercadante nor Rossini, and he states “in detail it owes a little to all of them. But what finally emerges is often subtly different, with a flavour of its own. Above all, it has that ultra-Verdian quality of gathering momentum as it proceeds


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