This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts covered in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book presents a case study, albeit a rather unusual one, of the phenomenon of politicized interpretation and reinterpretation constructed around and imposed upon an artistic object. It then focuses on the story of Verdi's Cantica, better known as Inno delle nazioni or Hymn of the Nations, a musical composition that served as a nationalistic voice for Italy in two very different situations across two centuries. The story begins in 1861 when Verdi accepted a commission to write a musical composition to represent the newly liberated Italy at the 1862 London International Exhibition. Verdi was a cultural patriot, a composer whose life and work were intertwined with the political climate and events of his era in various ways. Toscanini, during his lifetime, was viewed in similar ways to Verdi.