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Giuseppe Verdi

      Giuseppe Verdi, the last and most widely successful of the school of Italian opera proper, was born at Roncole, near Busseto, October 9, 1813. At ten years he was organist of the small church in his native village, the salary being raised after a year from 1 8s. 10d. to 1 12s. per annum. At the age of sixteen he was provided with funds to prosecute his studies at the Conservatorium at Milan; but at the entrance examination he showed so little evidence of musical talent that the authorities declined to enroll him. Nothing daunted, he pursued his studies with ardor under Lavigna, from 1831 to 1833, when, according to agreement, he returned to Busseto to take the place of his old teacher Provesi, now deceased.

      After five unhappy years in a town where he was little appreciated, Verdi returned to Milan. His first opera, "Oberto," is chiefly indebted to Bellini, and the next, "Un Giorno di Regno" (which fulfilled its own title, as it was only once performed), has been styled "Un Bazar de Reminiscences." Poor Verdi had just lost his wife and two children within a few days of each other, so it is hardly to be wondered at that a comic opera was not a very congenial work, nor successfully accomplished.

      "Nabucodonosor" (1842) was his first hit, and in the next year "I Lombardi" was even more successful--partly owing to the revolutionary feeling which in no small degree was to help him to his future high position. Indeed, his name w...

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