This year the Philatelic and Numismatic Office is celebrating the bicentenary of the births of Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) and Richard Wagner (1813-1883). The beginning of the Italian composer’s career was characterized by his great talent developed at a young age and the difficult life circumstances which profoundly marked the years leading up to “Nabucco”, his famous opera which made him known to the wider public. After his amazing start, years of intense artistic work followed. His “popular trilogy” (“Il Rigoletto”, “Il Trovatore” and “La Traviata”) gained him wide acclamation as a great artist. At the height of his career he composed “Aida” and “Don Carlos”. At a later age, with the help of Italian publisher Giulio Ricordi, he became a protagonist in the renewal of Italian music. With his own unique contribution (“Falstaff” and “Otello”), he drew closer to Europe which was marked by the genius of Wagner. For Italy, Verdi was known not only for being a great composer, but also one of the main promoters of the Risorgimento through his own art. From the beginning, Wagner was a profound innovator who believed in the union of the arts. He would write the libretto and the music of his dramas and even become involved in the architectural, scenic and choreograhpic elements of them. Over the years, the artist had difficulty presenting his operas, which would in later years be recognized as great masterpieces. They were performed more with the help of friends and benefactors, rather than through public acclaim (“Parsival”, “Tristan and Isolde”, “Tannhäuser”). The European musical elite recognized his genius, and while his life during those years was marked by economic difficulties, they were due more to waste of money rather than lack of sources for income. After 1864, with the support and protection of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, he was able to focus on his creative work with greater peace of mind. He received wide artistic recognition in opera houses, finishing works such as “Ring of the Nibelung”, the opera most closely tied to his name.
For the fourth year, the Philatelic and Numismatic Office has produced a folder called, “Die Emissionis Nº4”, which features a series of postage stamps dedicated to both great musicians. The package contains a Compact Disc with a selection of works by both composers.