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Teens for Verdi


Alex K on October 7, 2013 at 9:10 pm said:


Giuseppe Verdi has been a very significant person in my life. After joining Sarasota Youth Opera in Fall of 2006, the quality of my life greatly improved after being introduced to Verdi’s music. In the Youth Opera, I have sung numerous Verdi masterpieces ranging from the very popular “Va pensiero” (Nabucco) and the “Anvil Chorus” (Il trovatore), to the less well known works like “Ma le nozze” (Un giorno di regno).


I’ve never met a Verdi piece I haven’t loved! The melodies are extremely beautiful. Add the orchestra, and the feelings Verdi conveys become even more powerful.


I have also had the privilege of being a supernumerary (a non-singing performer on the stage) in four Verdi operas, I Due Foscari (2008), Don Carlos (2009), Giovanna d’Arco (2010), and I Lombardi (2011). Although I’ve been a page, an altar boy, and a torch carrier, my favorite supernumerary part was as the grandson of the Doge of Venice. Hearing complete Verdi operas 9 or 10 times in the course of rehearsals and performances is an unforgettable experience. I would not give up the life-changing experience of supering in an opera for anything else!


My all-time favorite Verdi opera is his 1867 masterpiece, Don Carlos. In brief, Don Carlos follows the story of the title character who loves Élizabeth de Valois. However she is betrothed to his much older father, King Philip II of Spain. Also, Carlos’ friend Rodrigue asks him to help the religiously oppressed people of Flanders. Throughout the five acts there is a lot happening- oppression, persecution, arrests, affairs, betrayal, and the Spanish Inquisition. The opera comes to its cataclysmic ending with Rodrigue’s assassination, Carlos’ exile to a monastery, and Élizabeth’s loss of her true love. This opera has powerful arias, amazing preludes for each act, and unbelievably powerful ensembles, especially in the auto-da-fé scene, which I consider to be the greatest scene in all of opera.


My respect and appreciation for Verdi cannot be expressed in this post. Happy 200th Birthday Maestro Verdi! Thank you for all you have done for opera, as well as for the greater good of human culture.


—Alex, 16, Florida, USA


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