Conversation avec Giuseppe Martini

Conversation avec Giuseppe Martini

Published by Istituto Nazionale di Studi Verdiani, 2017


A precious testimony of one of the most profound friendships cultivated by the Maestro and a real insight into his gradual withdrawal into his own microcosm of close affections, which at the same time, provides an impressive landscape of the Italian post-unification period (Parmadaily)

Among all Giuseppe Verdi’s most intimate relationships, his friendship with Giuseppe Piroli was characterised by an unconditional and mutual esteem plus a common passion for politics, seen as a moral stance more than as a gesture of civic responsibility. Although their common parliamentary experience was brief, they continued to correspond for thirty-one years, exchanging opinions on the political scene, which Piroli saw from within the institutions, and necessary confidences, as well as providing in different ways intellectual stimulus for each other. In the first volume (1859-1876), it is possible to observe how their correspondence develops during the whole period from the dawn of the new Italy to the fall of the Destra storica, passing through the war’s disappointments and the economy’s struggle and describing Verdi personal lives and his role in the decision making process of copyright law. Historical events are intertwined with the creation of Verdi’s new masterpieces of the 1860s and 1870s, and the particular features of this correspondence reveals above all the fundamental influence they exercise over Verdi’s career, his interests and his private life. In the second volume (1877-1890), a mature Verdi approaches a re-working of Simon Boccanegra and the creation of Otello, while at the same time developing an increasingly greater sense of disillusionment with Italian politics and its protagonists’ ethical conduct whose behaviour Verdi never ceases to complain with Piroli, who was nominated senator eight years after the end of his experience in the lower Chamber. In this period, Italy is a country on the verge of becoming a colonial power, a country of big and small political scandals. Piroli suffers increasingly from the fatigues of age and work, and he is ever less able to enjoy Verdi’s company at Sant’Agata. Verdi observes the world clearly and with a sense of disillusionment, with unforgiving and burning judgements, and he is ever more convinced of the few points of reference around which he has built his own private dimension and among them, his friendship with Piroli remains one of the most unquestionable and unshakeable bonds.

Giuseppe Martini, music historian and Scientific Secretary of The National Institute around Verdi’s Studies, is a real Verdi’s specialist: he curated this edition of the correspondence between Verdi and Piroli and other works around Verdi’s figure. Martini’s works include: the staging and the exhibition catalogue for the exhibition “Verdi, proprietario e Politico” (“Verdi, owner and politician”)(Parma, Archivio di Stato, 2013), the texts for the volumes “Giuseppe Verdi. Genesi e trama delle opere” (“Giuseppe Verdi. Genesis and operas’ plots”) (Parma, 2013), “Le prime di Verdi a Parma ” (Verdi’s premieres in Parma) (Parma, 2013) and “Verdi, l’uomo l’artista il mito” (“Verdi, the man, the artist the myth”) (Torino, Utet, 2011). Furthermore, Giuseppe Martini wrote the critical appendix for “Carteggio Verdi-Morosini” (Correspondence between Verdi and Morosini) published in 2013 and wrote about Renaissance music (Claudio Merulo, Parma, 2005), sacred musiche of baroque age and 18th century violin. Martini was also author and host of the successful series of documentaries sempreVERDI aired on Classica HD (one of Sky’s television channel) from 2015 to 2016. Contributor of the magazines “Gazzetta di Parma” from 1993 and “Arbiter” from 2000, Martini was the vice editor in chief and a music critic of the periodic “Il Caffè del Teatro” from 1999 to 2009. Martini is currently the curator of all Regio’s Theatre theatre programs and public presentations in Parma, and the curator of the showcase of modern and contemporary music of Traiettorie since 2007. Since 2009, Martini also works with Arturo Toscanini’s Foundation and keeps on writing articles and participating to meetings and conferences.