Italy kicks off festivities for Verdi’s 200th birthday

Celebrations for opera maestro Giuseppe Verdi's 200th birthday began in his home village in Italy on Thursday and were due to continue throughout the day across the globe.

Italy kicks off festivities for Verdi's 200th birthday
Statue of opera maestro Giuseppe Verdi, who would have been 200 on October 10th, in Palermo. Photo: Gnuckx/Flickr

Opera lovers gathered in the grocer's shop owned by Verdi's parents in the village of Busseto in the Emilia Romagna region to start the party.

A children's choir from Busseto sang "Va Pensiero" – the famous chorus of the Hebrew slaves in Verdi's "Nabucco" (1842) which many Italians consider
their second national anthem.

The Verdi theatre in Busseto will later see a performance of Verdi's last opera "Falstaff" (1893) with Italian baritone Renato Burson. Verdi was born on October 10th, 1813.

There will also be performances of "Aida" (1871) in Odessa in Ukraine and "La Traviata" (1853) in Tallinn in Estonia, as well as shows in Armenia,
China, Ethiopia, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates.

A highlight of the day will be the performance in live streaming of Verdi's "Requiem" (1874) by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by award-winning Italian maestro Riccardo Muti.

The website said a total of more than 1,000 events in 200 cities worldwide have been held this year to celebrate his bicentenary.

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Italy’s Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report

Ex-PM Matteo Renzi would like to see former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi become prime minister of Italy, a party source told Reuters on Sunday.

Italy's Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report
Matteo Renzi. Image: Andreas Solaro/ POOL / AFP

“I would say that is one of our proposals,” confirmed the source, who declined to be named.

The Italian government collapsed last week when PM Giuseppe Conte resigned. The former coalition allies are currently trying to come to an agreement and sort out their differences.

The centre-left government had been in turmoil ever since former premier Matteo Renzi withdrew his Italia Viva party earlier this month, a move that forced Conte to step down this week.

During the past year, Renzi frequently criticised Conte’s management of the pandemic and economic crisis.

Italy’s La Stampa newspaper also reported on Sunday that President Sergio Mattarella was considering Draghi for the prime ministerial role. However, Mattarella’s office promptly denied this, saying there had been no contact between them.

So far, there has been no comment from Draghi, who hasn't been seen much in the public eye since 2019.

Italy's president, Sergio Mattarella, gave ruling parties more time on Friday to form a new government, after the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. 

Coalition parties Italia Viva, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement must come to an agreement to allow the government to heal. 

Renzi, a former prime minister himself, has pubilcly stated that he does not want to talk about who should lead the next government at this stage, reasoning that the parties need to agree on a way forward first.

“Any effort today to fuel a discussion about Draghi is offensive to Draghi and above all to the president of the republic,” Renzi said in an interview published on Sunday with Corriere della Sera.

A senior Italia Viva lawmaker also told Reuters that “If the president gives a mandate to Draghi, we would certainly support this”. 

Renzi, whose party is not even registering three percent support in opinion polls, quit the coalition over Conte’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his plans for spending more than 200 billion euros from a European Union fund to help Italy’s damaged economy.

READ ALSO: Why do Italy's governments collapse so often?