Garibaldi-Meucci Museum to Celebrate Verdi's 200th Birthday, 10/20

On Sunday, October 20 at 2 p.m., Louis Barrella, Louis Leonini and Snjezana Smodlaka will present "Giuseppe Verdi: Celebrating the Man, His Music and Times," at the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum. This DVD presentation will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Verdi's birth on October 10, 1813.

In Verdi's day, opera was commercially profitable and accessible to most classes of society, and was an effective way to influence the public. Not just an entertainment, opera was an arena of political and cultural life for men and women of all classes, and for Verdi, music and political revolution went hand in hand. He used musical theater to contrast noble ideals with the destructive effects of power, to show how love of country could be exploited to encourage people to accept sacrifice and death, and how the lure of passion conflicted with the need for social order. Verdi fully understood the human condition at all levels of society and was able to truly reflect that in his music, infusing it with the deep longings of the human soul.

This presentation will explore how Verdi influenced not only the society and history of his times-playing an important role in the Risorgimento movement that led to the unity of Italy-but Italian culture as a whole. Offering wonderful melodies and scenes from his operas, we will celebrate Verdi's life through his music, while reflecting on our own humanity.

THE PRESENTERS: During his 35 years as a music educator, Lou Barrella has conducted symphonic bands and choruses, taught music and opera appreciation and collaborated with many cultural organizations. Since 1998 he has also given workshops and made presentations for the Education Department of the Metropolitan Opera Guild. Over the years Mr. Barrella has been a guest lecturer for many cultural organizations and has made presentations at Brooklyn and Wagner colleges; at Fordham, Hofstra and St. John's universities; at the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum and at the Italian Culture Museum of Queens College, CUNY.

Louis Leonini has a BA and MA in Late Modern European History. A teacher, staff developer and administrator for the New York City Department of Education for 32 years, he taught courses at St. John's University and the Federation of Italian American Organizations in Brooklyn, and St. Joseph Hill Academy on Staten Island. Leonini is a regular lecturer and member of the Speaker's Bureau at the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum, where he is currently teaching weekend Italian language classes for all levels.

Born in Croatia, Dr. Snjezana Smodlaka is an ardent lover of Italian opera, to which she was exposed from the earliest childhood. She obtained a B.A. in Italian Language and Literature and M.A. in Romance Philology at Zagreb University. She was Assistant Professor at the University of Zadar for eleven years. Thirty years ago she came to America to continue her research, and obtained her Ph.D in Italian literature at the Rutgers University. She worked as Italian and Latin teacher for 24 years at St. Joseph Hill Academy, and as an adjunct at Wagner College, CSI and Rutgers University. She has published numerous articles on Italian language and literature and presented papers at international conferences in the US, Croatia, Italy, Austria, Spain and Germany, and for the last decade has broadened her research on the study of the connections of Italian literature, art and music.

Admission of $10, $5 for members includes a light reception.

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