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October 2013
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The Battle Rages On: Verdi vs Wagner

Clash of the Titans: Wagner vs. Verdi

Hear Siegfried on The Tuesday Night Opera, 8:00 PM


Riccardo Muti likes to borrow from Toscanini when he compares Wagner to Verdi. Maestro Muti’s mentor Nino Rota had, after all, been Toscanini’s assistant. The legendary Italian maestro apparently once explained that in Wagner, it takes twenty minutes to get introductions out of the way. In Verdi, the man and the woman would have already made two children.

There have been many articles about the differences between Wagner and Verdi. Perhaps it’s just hype around their 1813-2013 anniversaries—or maybe not. Their music does continue to ripple through the world’s opera houses in separate camps. Wagner basically takes up an entire category; opera companies treat him like a food group (how many seasons has it been since Lyric Opera hasn’t done Wagner?). There’s plenty of devotion on the other side, though Verdi is treated more like the patriarch or culmination to a long line of esteemed Italian composers.

Thank you, fellow opera-lovers. It’s been ten years since I elected myself president of dis organization… an’ if I say so myself, you made duh right choice. Let’s look at duh record: In duh lass fissel year we made a hundred an’ twelve million dollars before taxes… only we ain’t paying no taxes!

—Little Bonaparte from Some Like it Hot

It isn’t necessary to decide which one is greater, but WFMT provides plenty of opportunities for you to reflect on why their art has been so influential.

Tonight Siegfried will be featured on the Tuesday Night Opera. There’s a lot of Verdi happening throughout the afternoon. This week, Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra are doing Verdi in grand scale as well.



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