chapter  8
10 Pages

Verdi

No composer can claim to hold a larger percentage of the operatic repertoire securely in his grasp than Giuseppe Verdi. Most of his popularity comes from the period of composition after 1850, with each one of these operas, Les Vêpres Siciliennes being the only exception, remaining a mainstay in almost every opera house. In the last forty years even the earlier operas of Macbeth, Nabucco, and Luisa Miller, once universally ignored, have become popular and well known. And yet the opera coach must understand how Verdi differs stylistically from the various composers of the bel canto era. His demands vocally are easier to understand, since we have a plethora of recordings that ably demonstrate what good Verdi singing is all about. We even have recordings of a few singers in the Verdi roles they originated. Since Verdi is so popular, it only means that a coach must objectively study the style and know exactly what those great singers are doing in order to separate style from tradition.