The Latymer School History Magazine - page 8

A poster for Verdi’s Opera:
Nabucco
briefly lose his interest in
music as he feels the
unification is a more
important cause to support:
‘You can’t think that now I
want to occupy myself with
notes, with sounds?....There
can be only one music
grateful to the ears of Italians
in 1848: the music of the
cannon!’ Perhaps even Verdi
himself did not make the
connection between his
music and revolution. Unlike
many people in Italy who
held allegiance to their own
region, Verdi considered
himself to be an Italian and
this shows he wanted a
united Italy. Verdi was a
supporter of both Garibaldi
and Cavour, both of whom
were paramount in securing
unification for Italy in the
1850s and 1860s. The fact
that in 1861 Cavour, who
wanted both politicians and
artists in the new Italian
government, wrote to Verdi
asking him to be a member
of this parliament, shows that
if someone as important to
unification of Italy as Cavour
recognised that Verdi had
nationalist feelings then
these feelings must have
been interpreted by many
from Verdi’s operas.
Verdi died in 1901 but it was
far from a quiet death.
300,000 people lined the
streets of Milan and in a spur
of national sentiment sang
the chorus
Va Pensiero
showing just what
an impact Verdi
had made on the
people of Italy.
This proved how
one chorus could
bring people
together and
possibly shows
just how the
chorus could have
inspired
nationalism in
people all those
years earlier when
Nabucco
was first
performed.
We cannot deny
that there is a
relationship
between Verdi
and Italy’s politics.
As Italy’s most
popular
composer of
operas in the
1800s, Verdi must
have done
something to
inspire the
people. The idea
of Verdi as a
revolutionary
cannot have
materialised out
of nowhere, he
must have had
some sort of impact
on the people of Italy. He
may not have perpetrated
nationalist ideas but his
operas brought people
together and inspired
people with the idea of the
oppressed coming together
as one to fight against the
oppressors. Verdi himself
was a patriot, passionately
supporting the fighting that
happened in the ‘year of
revolutions’ and somewhere
in his operas he must have
been consciously trying to
inspire the people of Italy.
Verdi as a revolutionary?
Perhaps, but maybe he was
more of an inspiration than a
revolutionary.
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