HBSO is presenting a night of Italian music at the Saigon Opera House on October 5 – Photo: Courtesy of HBSO Nor is it surprising that a majority of the items in the concert come from operas. Opera was for centuries central to Italian life, and even gained a political significance in the run-up to the country’s unification in 1861. The composer Verdi’s name was used as a secret acronym for the unification movement, V –E –R – D – I standing for Vittorio Emanuele Re d’Italia (‘Victor Emanuel King of Italy’), the monarch of Savoy who was to become the first king of the united country. The program begins with the overture to Bellini’s opera Norma. Bellini was the master of the ‘bel canto’ (‘beautiful singing’) style, and Norma is generally considered his finest opera. It’s about a druid priestess who cannot urge her followers to rebel against the occupying Romans because she is having an affair with the leader of the Roman forces. Then comes the Prelude to Verdi’s La Traviata. Verdi was Bellini’s successor and was destined to become Italy’s greatest opera composer. La Traviata is about the tragic love affair between the soprano, Violetta, and the… Read full this story
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