Monday, February 25, 2013

Bicentenary of the birth of Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi

Souvenir sheets

First Day Cover with stamps
First Day Cover with souvenir sheets
  They share the birth year and a masterful talent that catapulted them to the forefront of the history of music. There is no record of them ever having crossed in life. But they were companions in time and brilliant artists in a romantic Europe shaken by major social and political upheavals.

Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi were born in 1813: the first in the German city of Leipzig on May 22nd; the second in Roncole, Italy, on October 10th. A self-taught complete artist, Wagner was a composer, orchestra director, poet and musical theorist.

In Wagner’s childhood, his stepfather – an actor, painter and poet – played a determinant role. By his influence, he woke early for the Arts, in particular Literature, his first passion.

e was fascinated by the works of Weber and Beethoven, which eventually imposed music in his life. He begins to reveal traces of his strong musical personality in the opera The Flying Dutchman, but it is for the teratology The Ring of the Nibelung and the work Tristan and Isolde that the German musician becomes renowned.

In The Valkyrie, the second opera of the four that make up the cycle of The Ring, Wagner addresses timeless issues such as the pursuit of love and fight over power. The main character is Brynhildr, one of the nine Valkyrie (demigoddesses, in Norse mythology), daughters of the god Wotan. Encouraged to study music under the protection of a merchant from Busseto who early noticed his talent, Verdi becomes a composer in 1842 with Nabucco, an opera triumphantly taken in by critics and the public.

He then initiates an intense period of work that results in works with a guaranteed place in the lyrical repertoire worldwide, as is the case of Rigoletto, Il Trovatore, La Traviata and Aïda. At the age of 80 he composes that which would be his last work and his first comedy: the Falstaff opera, based on Shakespeare. It tells the adventures of the obese Falstaff, an old seductive libertine, who ends up himself being cheated. This “swan song” of his is regarded a masterpiece of musical- -theatrical virtuosity.

Verdi died in Milan at age 88. Earlier, in 1883, in the German city of Bayreuth, Wagner had already succumbed to heart problems, before completing 70 years of age, at the peak of his career.

Technical Details
Date of Issue: 31 January 2013
Values: two stamps of 0,68€ (Europe 20g)
Designer: Atelier B2
Credits: Stamps - Giuseppe Verdi, painting by Jäger; Richard Wagner, photo F.Hanfstaengl
Souvenir sheets – Falstaff in “L’Illustrazione Italiana”; The Valkyrie
Printer: INCM
Process: Offset 4 Colors
Size: 30,6 x 40 mm
Size special sheet: 95 x 125 mm
Perforation: Cross of Christ 13 x 13
Paper: FSC 110 g./m2
Sheet: with 50 stamps

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