On the 200th birthday of world-famous composer Giuseppe Verdi, Milan is celebrating with a programme of over 80 events, starting on 10 October – the day Verdi was born in 1813 – and lasting until 27 January, the day he died in 1901.
The festivities begin with opera house Teatro alla Scala open free to the public for the entire day of 10 October, with screenings of videos on the life of the maestro and of some of his most famous works.
Verdi’s first opera, Oberto, was premiered here in 1839 with such success that the opera house offered him a contract for three further works, which were to include Nabucco, first performed there in 1842 and which permanently established his reputation.
Visitors can also enter the theatre’s museum, where an exhibit celebrates the museum’s centenary. Introducing the programme under the banner “Verdi a Milano", city councillor Filippo Del Corno said: “We’re not celebrating only the great musician and composer, but also the intellectual and the man, deeply involved in the cultural, social and political context of nineteenth-century Milan. So the events will include not only concerts and performances of his work but exhibitions, public debates, readings on stage and films.”
Del Corno also announced that two apps were now available for smart-phones: one for locating places in Milan connected with the maestro, and the other about his documents, letters and scores.
La Scala will also perform three of Verdi’s masterpieces before the end of the year: Aida, Don Carlo and La Traviata. The opening night of La Traviata on 7 December will also be broadcast throughout the city in schools, theatres and piazza thanks to the collaboration of Edison in the staging of the festivities.
On 10 October, from 21.00 to past midnight, the microphones of Radio Popolare will be open for members of the public to contribute birthday greetings at the Demetrio Stratos Auditorium with their own readings, singing or musical performance.
The Teatro degli Arcimboldi will stage the opera Otello on 29 and 30 October, and on 7, 8 and 10 November Verdi’s Requiem Mass written for the death of poet and novelist Alessandro Manzoni.
The atelier Carlo Colla and Sons in Via Montegani will honour the composer with marionette performances of his operas, while readings and performances will be held in the Casa Verdi rest home for retired musicians which he founded on Piazza Buonarotti.
More details of the events and performances are available on this page of the city administration website: look for the “Allegati” in the right-hand column and click on “Verdi a Milano” to read the programme.