His life


10th October: Giuseppe Verdi was born in Le Roncole, Busseto to Carlo aged 28 and Luigia Uttini aged 26. The registry of the birth was drawn up in French because this area was part of Napoleon’s empire and known as the Département of the Taro.  With the Restoration of 1815 it was re-written in Latin.


20th March: Giuseppa, known as Giuseppina, Verdi’s younger sister was born.


Ludwig van Beethoven the great composer died in Vienna aged 57.


Franz Peter Schubert died in Vienna aged 31.


16th May: the New Ducal Theatre (now Teatro Regio) was inaugurated in Parma with a performance of the opera “Zaira” composed by Vincenzo Bellini to a libretto by Felice Romani. The interpreters were Enrichetta Méric Lalande, Filotea Reina, Teresa Cecconi, Carlo Trezzini, Giovanni Storti, Giovanni Inchindi, Domenico Reina, Celestino Salvatori, Luigi Lablache. The conductor was Ferdinando Melchiorri.


14th May: Verdi went to live with Antonio Barezzi a wealthy shopkeeper from Busseto, who was president of the local Philharmonic group, and became engaged to Margherita, Barezzi’s daughter, who was learning singing and pianoforte with the young Verdi.


14th January: the Monte di Pietà bank in Busseto assigned a scholarship to the promising young musician which allowed him to go to Milan to study.  The government of Maria Luigia, Duchess of Parma and Piacenza, issued his passport. Turned down by the Conservatoire of Music in Milan, Verdi, also supported financially by Barezzi, continued his studies privately until 1835 with Vincenzo Lavigna, cymbals maestro at La Scala in Milan.


He composed “Io la vidi” for two tenors and the orchestra to words by Calisto Bassi.  While in Milan, his younger sister Giuseppa died prematurely. Instead on 26th July Ferdinando Provesi, who had been Verdi’s first music teacher, died.


While in Milan, Verdi frequented the Philharmonic Society conducted by Pietro Massini and as cymbalist played in a production of Haydn’s Creation.  At this time he also went to a concert given by Nicolò Paganini at the Ducal Theatre in Parma.


This year saw Verdi’s first religious composition for voice and organ “Tantum Ergo” the first performance of which was given in Busseto in the Church of San Bartolomeo on 1st January 1837.

On 14th November Paganini gave a concert in Parma at the Teatro Regio.

Vincenzo Bellini died in Paris aged 34.


Verdi composed “Rochester” which would be re-written as “Oberto, Conte di San Bonifacio” the first full Verdi Opera.  On 20th April he was nominated Maestro of the Busseto Music School and on 4th May he married Margherita Barezzi in the Oratory of the SS: Trinità. The young couple went to Milan on their honeymoom.  This year also saw the death of  Vincenzo Lavigna.


Having obtained a promise from the impresario Bartolomeo Merelli to have an Opera put on at La Scala, Verdi moved to Milan with his wife and in March the couple’s first child, Virginia Maria Luigia, was born.


The publisher Canti published the first Verdi compositions, in all six ‘romanze’ for the voice accompanied on the piano: “Non t’accostar all’urna” to a text by Jacopo Vittorelli, “More, Elisa, lo stanco poeta” by Tommaso Bianchi; “In solitaria stanza by Jacopo Vittorelli”; “Nell’orror di notte scura” by Carlo Angiolini; “Perduta ho la pace” byWolgang Goethe, translated by Luigi Balestra; “Deh, pietosa, oh addolorata !” by Wolfgang Goethe translated by Luigi Balestra.

In July the young couple’s son Icilio Romano was born but in August their daughter Virginia died.

On the 28th October, Verdi resigned from the Busseto music school.


Canti published a further three ‘romanze’: “L’esule” to words by Temistocle Solera, “La seduzione” by Luigi Balestra and the nocturne “Guarda che bianca luna” for soprano, tenor and basso with a flute.

On 22nd October Icilio, Verdi’s son, died.

On 17th November the first performance of “Oberto, Conte di Bonifacio” took place at La Scala, Milan and the impresario Merelli offered Verdi a contract for 3 more operas.


20th June: the 26 year old Margherita Barezzi, wife of Verdi, died.

5th September: saw the first night of “Un giorno di regno” at La Scala.

The 58 year old violinist and composer Nicolò Paganini died in Nice but is buried in Parma.


Antonin Dvorak was born in Nelahozeves, Kralu, in Chekoslovakia.


9th March: the first night at La Scala of Nabucodonosor (Nabucco). Verdi went to Bologna to hear the “Stabat Mater” by Rossini, conducted by Donizetti and met the composer from Pescara.  Verdi composed the ‘romanza’ “Chi I bei m’adduce ancora” to a text by Wolfgang Goethe translated by Luigi Balestra.  In Milan, Verdi began to frequent the salon held by Clara Maffei.

In France at Montand di St. Etienne the composer Jules Massenet was born.

Luigi Cherubini died in Paris aged 82.


11th February: the first night at La Scala in Milan of “I Lombardi alla prima Crociata” which Verdi dedicated to Maria Luigia, Duchess of Parma, donating the opera score to her.

17th April the first performance of “Nabucco” in Parma with Giuseppina Strepponi singing and Verdi present.

The Norwegian composer Edvard Hagemp Grieg was born in Bergen.


9th March: the first night of “Ernani” at La Fenice theatre in Venice

3rd November: “I due Foscari” was performed for the first time at the Teatro Argentina in Roma.

Verdi composed the quartina “E la vita un mar d’affanni” with a text by Francesco Maria Piave.

In Milan another student of Provesi, Emanuele Donnino Muzio, became Verdi’s assistant and collaborator.


15th February: first night of “Giovanna d’Arco” at La Scala, Milan

12th August: “Alzira” was performed for the first time at the San Carlo Theatre in Naples. An album of six ‘romanze’ composed by Verdi was published, “La Zingara” by Manfredo Maggioni, “A una stella” by Andrea Maffei, “Lo Spazzacamino” by Manfredo Maggioni, “Il mister” by Felice Romani, “Brindisi” by Andrea Maffei.

Gabriel Fauré was born in Pamiers, Ariege in France.


11th January: Giuseppina Strepponi, the first interpretor of Nabucco at La Scala, sang this work for the last time at the Teatro Communale in Modena and then transferred to Paris to open a singing school.

17th March: first performance of “Attila” at La Fenice in Venice.


14th March: the first performance of “Macbeth” at the Teatro della Pergola  in Florence.

22nd July: “I masnadieri” was presented for the first time in London at Her Majesty’s Theatre in the presence of Queen Victoria. While in London Verdi met Giuseppe Mazzini.

26 November: “Jerusalem”, the revisitation in French of “I Lombardi alla Prima Crociata”, was performed at the Paris Opera.

Verdi composed the romanza “Il Poveretto” to a text by Manfredo Maggioni.

Maria Luigia, Duchess of Parma, died on the 17th December aged 56.

The German composer Mendelssohn-Bartholdy died in Liepzig aged 38.


Both Verdi and Giuseppina Strepponi were living in Paris and began living together in Passy, near the French capital. In May Verdi returned to Busseto to buy the farm at St. Agata from the Merli family.

25th October: first performance of “Il Corsaro” at the Grand Theatre in Trieste.

The anthem “Suona la Tromba” for a male choir of three voices and the piano was performed for the first time, music by Verdi to words by Goffredo Mameli.

Gaetano Donizetti died in Bergamo aged 51.


27th January: first night of “La Battaglia di Legnano” at the Argentina Theatre in Roma.

In August Verdi went to Busseto to take possession of Palazzo Orlandi where he lived while waiting for Giuseppina Strepponi to arrive.

8 December: the first performance of “Luisa Miller” at the San Carlo theatre in Naples.

In Paris Verdi composed “L’abandonnée” to a French text by M.L. Escudier, dedicating it to Giuseppina Strepponi.

In Paris Fryederyk Chopin died at 39.


16th November: the debut of “Stiffelio” at the Grand Theatre in Trieste.

26th December: “Jerusalem” with the libretto translated by Calisto Bassi was presented for the first time in Italy at La Scala in Milan.

Verdi composed the ‘barcarola’ “Fiorellin che sorge appena” with words by Francesco Maria Piave.


11 March: first performance of “Rigoletto” at the Fenice Theatre in Venice.

That summer Verdi and Giuseppina transferred from Busseto to Sant’Agata.

30th June: Verdi’s mother Luigia died at the age of 64.

Gaspare Spontini died in Ancona at the age of 77.


17th July: Cammarano died in Naples leaving the libretto for “Il trovatore” unfinished.

In August that year Verdi was awarded the French Legion of Honour by the President of the French Republic, Luigi Bonaparte. The order was delivered personally to Verdi in Sant’Agata by his French publisher, Léon Escudier.


19th January: first performance of “Il trovatore” at the Apollo Theatre in Rome.

6th March: first night of “La traviata” at the Venice La Fenice theatre.

Verdi composed the “Fiorara” with a text in Venetian dialect written by Buvoli.


13th June: “Les Vepres Siciliennes” was put on at the Paris Opera for the Universal Exposition.  The Italian version was presented in December in Parma and Turin with the title “Giovanna de Guzman”.


The King of Piedmont granted Verdi the title of Knight of the Order of S. Maurizio and S. Lazzaro which was delivered personally by the foreign minister.

He was a guest of Napoleon III at Compiègne.

14th March: the conductor Nicola De Giovanni died in Parma aged 54.

The German composer Robert Alexander Schuman died in Endenich of Bonn at the age of 46.


12th March: the first night of “Simon Boccanegra” at the Fenice in Venice.

16th August: “Aroldo”, a re-working of the opera Stiffelio, was put on at the Teatro Nuovo in Rimini.

Ruggero Leoncavallo was born in Naples.


4th January: Verdi and Giuseppina Strepponi embarked in Genoa for Naples where they arrived 10 days later to put on “Un ballo in maschera”. There were problems with local censure offices as well as difficulties caused by envy and jealousy and so the opera was withdrawn and not performed until a year later in Rome.

Verdi composed “La Preghiera del Poeta” with words by Nicola Sole and “Sgombra, o gentil” by Alessandro Manzoni (from the chorus of Adelchi, Act IV).

Giacomo Puccini was born in Lucca.


17th February: the first performance of “Un ballo in maschera” at the Teatro Apollo in Rome.  Following the staging of the opera placards appeared in the city bearing the words “Viva V.E.R.D.I.” an acronym for “Viva Vittorio Emanuele Re D’Italia” (Long live Victor Emanuel King of Italy). The slogan spread rapidly.

29th April: in the Savoy area at Collanges-sous-Salève, Verdi and Giuseppina Strepponi got married.  The wedding was carried out by Abbot Gaspard Mermillod from Geneva.

4th September: the people of Busseto elected Verdi as their representative in the delegation from the Parma provincial areas for annexation to the Kingdom of Sardinia.

15-18th September: Verdi went to Turin to visit King Vittorio Emanuele II and on 16th September he met Cavour at Leri near Vercelli.


1st September: Cleofonte Campanini was born in Parma.

Gustav Mahler was born in Kaliste in Bohemia and Hugo Wolf in Slovenjgradec in Austria.


3rd February: Verdi was elected Member of the Italian Parliament. He would remain an MP until 1865.

19th February: he took part in the first meeting of Parliament in Turin and also the famous historical sitting on 27th March when Rome was proclaimed the Capital of Italy.

At the end of November he left with his wife for St. Petersburg where his opera “La forza del destino” was due to be performed; as it happened the opening was postponed.

Verdi composed “I Brigidino” to a text by Francesco Dell’Ongaro.

6th June: Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour died at the age of 51.


24th May: “L’Inno delle Nazioni”, a chorus for 5 voices and orchestra, composed by Verdi to a text by Arrigo Boito for the Great Exhibition in London, was performed at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Conducted by Luigi Arditi.

10th November: “La forza del destino” was performed at the Imperial Theatre in St Petersburg in the presence of Verdi and his wife, Giuseppina Strepponi.  A few days later the Tsar of all the Russias, Alexander II, granted Verdi the honour of the Cross of the Imperial and Royal Order of St Stanislaus.

Claude Debussy was born in Yvelines in France.


Pietro Mascagni was born in Livorno-Leghorn.


21st April: a new version of “Macbeth” was performed at the Theatre Lyrique in Paris in the presence of Verdi and his wife.

He composed the “Romanzo senza parole” for the pianoforte.

Jean Sibelius was born in Hameenlinna in Finland.


14th January: Verdi’s father Carlo died at the age of 82.

11th March: first performance of “Don Carlos” at the Paris Opera.

24th April: Genoa made Verdi an honorary citizen.

21st July: Antonio Barezzi died aged 79.

The Verdis adopted Filomena Maria Verdi, daughter of a cousin of the Maestro.

Arturo Toscanini was born in Parma and Luca Giordano was born in Foggia.


30th June: Verdi met Alessandro Manzoni

15th August: the Teatro Verdi was inaugurated in Busseto; the Maestro contributed to the construction with a large donation and owned a box in the Theatre. The first opera to be performed at the new theatre was “Rigoletto”.

Gioachino Rossini died aged 76 in Passy near Paris.


Verdi composed “Tu dici che non m’ami” by an anonymous author.  He was nominated Knight of the Order of Civic Merit of Savoy.

Hector Berlioz died at the age of 66.


Franz Lehar was born in Komarom in Hungary.


24th December: two years after the opening of the Suez canal, the first performance of “Aida” took place at the Teatro dell’Opera in Cairo, conducted by Giovanni Bottesini.


The opera “Aida” was performed for the first time in Italy at La Scala in Milan on 8th February and on 20th April it was given in Parma with both performances supervised by Verdi himself.

5th April: the mayor of Parma, Alfonso Cavagnari, decreed honorary citizenship with a gold medal for Verdi.

Sergei Rachmaninov was born in Novgorod in Russia.


1° April: Verdi arranged for the performance of his “Quartetto” for wind instruments for a group of friends at the Crocelle Hotel in Chiatamone, Naples.

He composed “Cupo è il sepolcro mutolo” by an anonymous author.

22nd May: Alessandro Manzoni died aged 88.


22nd May: On the anniversary of Manzoni’s death Verdi himself conducted the first performance of the “Messa da Requiem” in the Church of San Marco, Milan.

15th November: Verdi was nominated senator of the Italian Kingdom by Vittorio Emanuele II.


The “Requiem Mass” was performed 7 times in Paris and innumerable other times in both London and Vienna, some performances were conducted by Verdi himself.

9th December: first performance of the “Quartetto d’archi” at the Milan Conservatoire.

In France in the area of the low Pyrenees, Maurice Ravel was born.

Georges Bizet died in Bougival at the age of 37.


The Verdis transferred their Winter lodgings to Genoa in Palazzo Doria.

11th October: Philomena, their adopted daughter, married Alberto Carrara.


Verdi composed the “Pater Noster” for a chorus and 5 voices.

Ottorino Respighi was born in Bologna.


Verdi composed the “Ave Maria” for soprano and strings and the first performance took place together with the “Pater Noster” at La Scala in Milan on 18th April, conducted by Franco Faccio.

Jacques Offenbach died in Paris aged 61.


24th March: the revised version of “Simon Boccanegra” was performed at La Scala in Milan.

Modest Petrovic Musorgskij died in St. Petersbourg aged 42.


Fedorovic Stravinskij was born in St. Petersbourg and Gian Francesco Malipiero in Venice.


Richard Wagner died aged 70.


10th January: a new version of “Don Carlos” in four acts was performed at La Scala in Milan.


Verdi composed “Laudi alla Vergine Maria” from Dante’s song of Paradise for chorus, soprano and contralto.

Amilcare Ponchielli died in Milan aged 52.

Franz Liszt died in Bayreuth aged 75.


5th February: first performance of “Otello” at La Scala in Milan.

Aleksandr Borodin died in St. Petersbourg aged 54.


6th November: a hospital building financed entirely by Giuseppe Verdi opened at Villanova sull’Arda.


7th July: the double bass player, composer and conductor Giovanni Bottesini died in Parma at the age of 68. At Verdi’s suggestion he was also director of the Conservatoire of Music in Parma.


Verdi’s pupil and friend Emanuele Muzio died in Paris aged 69.  He was born in Zibello on 24th August in 1821.


1st October: the first violin, composer and conductor Giulio Cesare Ferrarini died in Parma at the age of 84.


8th April: at La Scala in Milan, Verdi conducted the prayer of “Mosè” by Rossini to mark the centenary of the composer’s birth.


9th February: first night of “Falstaff” at La Scala in Milan

14th April: Verdi was received by King Umberto at the Quirinale

Alfredo Catalani died in Milan at 39; Charles Gounoud died in Saint Cloud at the age of 75 and Petr Ilic Tcajkovskij died in St. Petersbourg at 53.


Verdi composed “Pietà, Signor !” to a text by Arrigo Boito. After the triumph of “Otello” in Paris Verdi was received by the President of the French Republic, Casimir Périer (in office between June 1894 and January 1895) who awarded him the Grand Cross of the Legion d’Honneur.  This was the first time that the honour was conferred on a foreign musician.


Verdi composed the “Te Deum” for a double chorus and orchestra.


14th November: Verdi’s second wife Giuseppina Strepponi died at Sant’Agata aged 82.  She would be buried in Milan.

Verdi composed the “Stabat Mater” for chorus and orchestra, with a text by Jacopone da Todi.

Johannes Brahms died in Vienna at 64.


7th April: first performance at the Paris Opera House of “Laudi alla Vergine Maria”, of the “Stabat Mater” and of “Te Deum”, conductor Claude Taffanel. The same sacred pieces will be directed on  26th  May in Turin by Arturo Toscanini, with whom Verdi had met in Genoa.

George Gershwin was born in New York.


14th May: in his will, Verdi nominated Maria Carrara as his universal heir. Maria Carrara’s relationship with Giuseppe Verdi is as follows: Verdi’s father Carlo had a brother, Marco, who had 8 children.  The 5th child, Giuseppe, had 6 children the youngest of whom was Maria Verdi, the universal heir. At this point let us remember that Verdi’s mother, Luigia Uttini, had a brother, Antonio, whose daughter Angela Uttini married Antonio Ferretti and their son, Gaetano, was also a second degree cousin like Philomena/Maria Verdi.

16th December: the construction of the Casa di Riposo for retired musicians was finished in Milan.  The house was founded and funded by Verdi.

29th April: Arturo Toscanini gave a concert at the Teatro Regio in Parma.


27th January: Giuseppe Verdi died in Milan in a room in the Gran Hotel et de Milan at the age of 88. Right to the end he was looked after by Prof. Pietro Grocco.  At his bedside were present Maria Carrara, Teresa Stolz, Giulio and Giuditta Ricordi, Arrigo Boito and Giuseppe Giacosa. On the 30th January he was buried in the Monumental Cemetery in Milan. On 1st February at La Scala there was a solemn commemoration with music by Verdi conducted by Arturo Toscanini with the singers Tamagno, Caruso, Borgatti, Magini-Coletti and Carelli.  On 8th February the Maestro was celebrated at the Teatro Regio in Parma with symphonies from his Operas.  On 26th February the solemn funeral took place in Milan and Toscanini conducted the “Va’ pensiero”.  The coffin was moved to the Oratory of the Rest home for Musicians where it would take its place next to the mortal remains of Giuseppina Strepponi.


On 10th October, the 89th anniversary of Verdi’s birth the Rest home for Musicians of the Giuseppe Verdi Foundation opened officially in Milan.

King Vittorio Emanuele III and Queen Elena of Savoy were present at the inauguration.

The first guests were 4 women and 5 men all nominated by the board on 30th September 1902.