Giuseppe Verdi (1813 1901) was the Shakespeare of opera, the composer of "Rigoletto," "Il Trovatore," "La Traviata," "Aida" and" Otello." The chorus of Hebrew slaves from "Nabucco" (1842) is regarded in Italy as virtually an alternative national anthem, and the great tragedian rounded off his career 50 years later with a rousing comedy, "Falstaff." When Verdi was born, much of northern Italy was under Napoleonic rule, and he grew up dreaming of a peninsula governed by Italians. When this was achieved, in 1861, he became a deputy in the first all-Italian parliament. Verdi died in 1901, mourned as the emodiment of the nation he'd helped create."
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