Giuseppe Verdi

  • Sculptor: Pasquale Civiletti
  • Dedicated: 1906
  • Medium and size: Overall 25.5 feet; marble figures (life-size), granite base
  • Location: Triangle between West 73rd Street, Amsterdam and Broadway
  • Subway: 1, 2, 3 to 72nd Street

Verdi

Ponselle on Fridays, Caruso in the Ether

Caruso

Above: Enrico Caruso (as Alvaro) supports the dying Rosa Ponselle (as Leonora) in Forza del Destino.

Caruso died in 1921, but you can listen to him singing an aria from Forza here.

Ponselle

Above: A statue of Rosa Ponselle on the second floor of the south side of the former I. Miller building at 1552 Broadway (northeast corner of 46th St.: now TGIFriday’s). Miller, whose stores specialized in shoes for dancers and actors, adorned the building with sculptures of four notable early 20th-century actresses of stage and screen: Ethel Barrymore, Marilyn Miller, Mary Pickford, and Rosa Ponselle.

Video of Verdi

The video of the cortege is the earliest known moving picture to have been recorded in Italy. It is probably not Verdi’s actual funeral (which was a small affair) but the ceremony in February, 1901 in which his and his wife’s remains were transferred to the grounds of the retirement home for musicians that Verdi had founded. At that event, Arturo Toscanini led 800 singers performing "Va, pensiero" from Nabucco.

Music

The Act I prelude from La Traviata is adapted from a performance conducted by Arturo Toscanini, made available courtesy of The Immortal Performances Recorded Music Society (Richard Caniell).

“Va, pensiero”

Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan: A Historical Guide has more on why “Va, pensiero,” from Verdi’s 1842 opera Nabucco, became almost the Italian national anthem.

For those who like to follow along:

Va, pensiero, sull'ali dorate [ Go, thought, on golden wings]
Va, ti posa sui clivi, sui colli [Go, alight on the cliffs, on the hills]
Ove olezzano tepide e molli [Where there are wafting the warm and gentle]
L'aure dolci del suolo natal! [Sweet breezes of our native land.] 

Cross References

  • Other sculptures in Manhattan sponsored by Carlo Barsotti of Il Progresso Italo-Americano: Verrazzano and Dante (Broadway at West 64th St.).
  • Shown re sculptures of long-dead heroes that inspire patriotism: Jagiello.
  • Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan has further discussion of why these figures were chosen for the Verdi Monument, and on the significance of "Va, pensiero" in 19th-c. Italy.

Copyright (c) 2013 Dianne L. Durante