Giuseppe Verdi was another great
musician who felt the full richness of
domestic happiness, if only for a time.
Born in the little hamlet of Le
Roncole in 1813, he proved himself possessed of unusual talent, and
after a time went to Busseto for lessons. There he came to the notice
M. Barezzi, who became the friend and patron of the young student. The
story of his being refused at the Milan Conservatory, and afterward
amazing the authorities by his speed in composing fugues, is too well
known to need repetition. After his Milan
studies, we find him back at
Busseto, in love with Barezzi's daughter Margherita. The father, unlike
the usual stern parent who repels impecunious musicians, gave his
permission for their union, which took place soon after, in 1836.
In a couple of years he settled down in
Milan, with his wife and two
children. Success began to crown his efforts, and his career of opera
composer was well begun, when his domestic happiness came to a complete
First one child fell sick and died of an
unknown malady, then the
second followed it in a few days, and within two months the bereaved
mother was stricken with a fatal inflammation of the brain. In the
of all these misfortunes, Verdi was kept at work by a commission for
Giorno di Regno," which was to be a comic opera! Little wonder that the
wit oozed out of the occasion, and the performance proved a failure.
despondent Verdi resolved to give up his career altogether, and only by
the insistence of the manager, Merelli, was he finally persuaded to
resume his occupation. In later life he married again, passing a placid
existence on his extensive estates.