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The operas of Verdi today form the mainstay of the repertoire of opera houses all over the world. Some of his music has become absorbed into popular culture from being used in TV adverts and film soundtracks, as well as being performed by the most famous classical singers of the day in concerts and on records. Pieces from the same opera are grouped together, beginning with the famous drinking song from La traviata: ‘Libiamo’, followed by other popular favourites from La traviata, Rigoletto and Il trovatore, among them being the swaggering ‘La donna è mobile’ and the powerful Anvil Chorus. The first CD concludes with extracts from two earlier operas: Ernani and Macbeth, the latter providing one of Verdi’s most impressive soprano scenas in which the scheming Lady Macbeth calls on the powers of evil to assist her in murdering King Duncan. The second CD opens with the heartfelt chorus: ‘Va, pensiero’ from Nabucco, sung by the Hebrews in exile longing for their homeland. Then come more well-known arias and choruses from Verdi’s later operas like Un ballo in maschera, La forza del destino and Aida. After extracts from his moving Requiem Mass, we hear the Fire Chorus from another of Verdi’s Shakespearian settings: Otello and the programme ends with three items from what some now consider to be Verdi’s finest work, the historical drama Don Carlo.

Verdi: Ah sì ben mio (from Il trovatore)
Verdi: Anvil Chorus (from Il Trovatore)
Verdi: Caro nome (from Rigoletto)
Verdi: Di quella pira (from Il trovatore)
Verdi: Di' tu se fedele (from Un ballo in maschera)
Verdi: Dio, che nell'alma infondere (from Don Carlo)
Verdi: È strano! è strano!...Ah! fors è lui...Sempre libera (from La Traviata)
Verdi: Ecco l'orrido campo … Ma dall'arido stelo divulsa (from Un ballo in maschera)
Verdi: Il Trovatore
Verdi: La donna è mobile (from Rigoletto)
Verdi: La Traviata
Verdi: Libiamo, ne' lieti calici (from La Traviata)
Verdi: Noi siamo zingarelle (from La Traviata)
Verdi: O don fatale (from Don Carlo)
Verdi: Pace, pace mio Dio! (from La forza del destino)
Verdi: Rataplan, rataplan, della gloria (from La forza del destino)
Verdi: Ritorna vincitor! (from Aida)
Verdi: Se quel guerrier io fossi!…Celeste Aida (from Aida)
Verdi: Spuntato ecco il di d'esultanza (from Don Carlo)
Verdi: Surta è la notte...Ernani! Ernani, involami (from Ernani)
Verdi: Tacea la notte (from Il Trovatore)
Verdi: Un di, se ben rammentomi... Bella figlia dell'amore (from Rigoletto)
Verdi: Va, pensiero (from Nabucco)

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