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Verdi
Cover of Verdi
Verdi
The Man Revealed

Giuseppe Verdi remains Italy's greatest operatic composer and a man of apparent contradictions—vividly brought to life through a nuanced examination of his life and monumental music.

Giuseppe Verdi remains the greatest operatic composer that Italy, the home of opera, has ever produced. Yet throughout his lifetime he claimed to detest composing and repeatedly rejected it. He was a landowner, a farmer, a politician and symbol of Italian independence; but his music tells a different story.

An obsessive perfectionist, Verdi drove collaborators to despair but his works lauded from the start as dazzling feats of composition and characterization. From Rigoletto to Otello, La Traviatato to Aida, Verdi's canon encompassed the full range of human emotion. His private life was no less complex: he suffered great loss, and went out of his way to antagonize supporters and his own family. An outspoken advocate of Italian independence and a sharp critic of the church, he was often at odds with nineteenth-century society.

In Verdi: The Man Revealed, John Suchet attempts to get under the skin of perhaps the most private composer who ever lived. Unraveling his protestations, his deliberate embellishments and disavowals, Suchet reveals the true character of this great artist—and the art for which he will be forever known.

Giuseppe Verdi remains Italy's greatest operatic composer and a man of apparent contradictions—vividly brought to life through a nuanced examination of his life and monumental music.

Giuseppe Verdi remains the greatest operatic composer that Italy, the home of opera, has ever produced. Yet throughout his lifetime he claimed to detest composing and repeatedly rejected it. He was a landowner, a farmer, a politician and symbol of Italian independence; but his music tells a different story.

An obsessive perfectionist, Verdi drove collaborators to despair but his works lauded from the start as dazzling feats of composition and characterization. From Rigoletto to Otello, La Traviatato to Aida, Verdi's canon encompassed the full range of human emotion. His private life was no less complex: he suffered great loss, and went out of his way to antagonize supporters and his own family. An outspoken advocate of Italian independence and a sharp critic of the church, he was often at odds with nineteenth-century society.

In Verdi: The Man Revealed, John Suchet attempts to get under the skin of perhaps the most private composer who ever lived. Unraveling his protestations, his deliberate embellishments and disavowals, Suchet reveals the true character of this great artist—and the art for which he will be forever known.

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About the Author-
  • John Suchet presents Classic FM's flagship morning program in England. Before turning to classical music, John was one of the England's most respected television journalists. As a reporter he covered world events, including the Iran revolution, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the Philippines revolution. John has been honored for both roles. In 1986 he was voted Television Journalist of the Year, in 1996 Television Newscaster of the Year, and in 2008 the Royal Television Society awarded him a Lifetime Achievement Award. The Royal Academy of Music has awarded him an Honorary Fellowship in recognition of his work on Beethoven, having written six books on the composer, including the highly acclaimed Beethoven: The Man Revealed. His bestselling biography of the Strauss family, The Last Waltz: The Strauss Dynasty and Vienna, was published in 2015.
Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    May 15, 2018
    A compact, sumptuously illustrated, insightful biography of the Italian composer.As with his three other exemplary introductory biographies of famous composers, British broadcaster Suchet's (Mozart: The Man Revealed, 2017, etc.) goal is always to reveal the composers for readers who may not be familiar with them--warts, genius, and all. He admits to a bit of a challenge recounting the life of curmudgeonly Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) because he was "enormously protective" of his privacy, but the author still does a masterful job capturing the life and times as well as explaining the maestro's significant contributions to music history. There was no music in young Verdi's family, but when he began to exhibit musical talent, his parents scraped enough money together to buy him a small keyboard when he was 8. At 10, they sent the "rather withdrawn, isolated boy" away to be educated. He gave his first public performance at 13, and at 18, thanks to a benefactor, he tried to enter the Milan Conservatory but was rejected. He married and continued to compose with little success, but his 1842 opera, Nabucco, "changed his life." As Suchet writes, here was original "music on an altogether different level." At this point, a "new Verdi" pursued his career with confidence. "Thirteen operas in under a decade; twenty-seven operas...in a lifetime." It is a "phenomenal achievement," writes the author. "I can think of no other operatic composer of true stature who can come close to equaling such a record"--not even "Verdi's rival Wagner." Rigoletto, with a ruler as villain, a hunchback jester as hero, "eclipsed all who had gone before him." With Il travatore, "Verdi was creating something entirely new." After its premiere, an ecstatic, torch-carrying crowd escorted him back to his hotel. Obsessed with Shakespeare, Verdi wrote three operas based on the plays. Otello, writes the author, "is without doubt one of Verdi's greatest works."Once again, Suchet hits his mark.

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    June 1, 2018

    English radio personality Suchet, author of six books on Beethoven and others on Strauss and Mozart, is the rare scholar who knows his subject, writes like a dream, and wears his research lightly. These talents are essential when writing about the formidably talented composer Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901). There is much hyperbole in accounts of Verdi's life and career, not least the composer's own statements. For someone who periodically moaned that he was leaving composing for the life of the simple farmer, Verdi was unbelievably prolific, with 27 operas to his credit. The last, Falstaff, opened in 1893, when he was 80! It was his first comic opera, though there had been a failed one early in his career. Verdi's personal life, too, is fascinating, in particular his scandalous affair (ending in marriage) with singer Giuseppina Strepponi. This book is handsomely laid out with wide margins, ample illustrations, and sentences from the text dropped in the margins along the way to tantalize readers. VERDICT Obviously, music lovers will want this volume, but the subject is so lively and the presentation so attractive that it will appeal to all who value a solid biography.--David Keymer, Cleveland

    Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus Reviews A compact, sumptuously illustrated, insightful biography of the Italian composer. The author does a masterful job capturing the life and times as well as explaining the maestro's significant contributions to music history. Once again, Suchet hits his mark.
  • Library Journal (starred) Suchet is the rare scholar who knows his subject, writes like a dream, and wears his research lightly. This book is handsomely laid out with wide margins, ample illustrations, and sentences from the text dropped in the margins along the way to tantalize readers. Obviously, music lovers will want this volume, but the subject is so lively and the presentation so attractive that it will appeal to all who value a solid biography.
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