The Life of Verdi (miniseries)

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The Life of Verdi
Written by Leonardo Benvenuti
Renato Castellani
Piero De Bernardi
Gene Luotto
Directed by Renato Castellani
Starring Ronald Pickup
Carla Fracci
Giampiero Albertini
Narrated by Burt Lancaster (English version only)
Theme music composer Roman Vlad
Country of origin Italy, France, West Germany, UK, Sweden
Original language(s) Italian
Cinematography Giuseppe Ruzzolini
Editor(s) Otello Colangeli
Running time 630 minutes
Distributor RAI
Original release 13 October 1982 (1982-10-13)

The Life of Verdi is a 1982 Italian-language biographical television miniseries directed by Renato Castellani dramatizing the life of Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi. Castellani also co-wrote the original script with Leonardo Benvenuti and Piero De Bernardi. The English version was written by Gene Luotto and narrated by Burt Lancaster. The miniseries first aired in 1982, and was made available on DVD in 2003.

Italian language Romance language

Italian is a Romance language. Italian, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to Vulgar Latin of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. In spite of not existing any Italian community in their respective national territories and of not being spoken at any level, Italian is included de jure, but not de facto, between the recognized minority languages of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Romania. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both standardized Italian and other regional languages.

Biographical film film genre; dramatizes the life of an actual person or people

A biographical film, or biopic, is a film that dramatizes the life of a non-fictional or historically-based person or people. Such films show the life of a historical person and the central character's real name is used. They differ from films "based on a true story" or "historical drama films" in that they attempt to comprehensively tell a single person's life story or at least the most historically important years of their lives.

A miniseries is a television program that tells a story in a predetermined, limited number of episodes. The term "serial" is used in the United Kingdom and in other Commonwealth nations, though its meaning doesn't necessary equate to "miniseries" in its usage.


The production stars British actor Ronald Pickup as Giuseppe Verdi, Italian ballet dancer and actress Carla Fracci as Giuseppina Verdi, and Giampiero Albertini as Antonio Barezzi. Funded by a number of European national broadcasting companies, the series is an accurate portrayal of Verdi's life.

Actor person who acts in a dramatic or comic production and works in film, television, theatre, or radio

An actor is a person who portrays a character in a performance. The actor performs "in the flesh" in the traditional medium of the theatre or in modern media such as film, radio, and television. The analogous Greek term is ὑποκριτής (hupokritḗs), literally "one who answers". The actor's interpretation of their role—the art of acting—pertains to the role played, whether based on a real person or fictional character. Interpretation occurs even when the actor is "playing themselves", as in some forms of experimental performance art.

Ronald Alfred Pickup is an English actor who has been active in television and film since 1964.

Ballet dancer person who practices the art of ballet

A ballet dancer is a person who practices the art of classical ballet. Both females and males can practice ballet; however, dancers have a strict hierarchy and strict gender roles. They rely on years of extensive training and proper technique to become a part of professional companies. Ballet dancers are at a high risk of injury due to the demanding technique of ballet.

According to promotional material for the production, it was "filmed on location in Italy, Leningrad, London, and Paris...(T)his epic mini-series took several years to create, requiring more than 100 actors, 1800 extras, and 4000 costumes." [1]


The English version has seven 90-minute episodes totaling 630 minutes; the original Italian version, nine 70-minute episodes.

  1. "Childhood, Barezzi & Milan"
  2. "Margherita, Tragedy & Nabucco"
  3. "Patriotism, I Lombardi & Ernani"
  4. "Giuseppina, Revolution & Rigoletto"
  5. "Independent Italy, La Traviata & Un Ballo"
  6. "Wagner, Teresa & Aida"
  7. "Crisis, Otello & Falstaff"


Giuseppe Verdi Italian opera composer

Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi was an Italian opera composer. He was born near Busseto to a provincial family of moderate means, and developed a musical education with the help of a local patron. Verdi came to dominate the Italian opera scene after the era of Vincenzo Bellini, Gaetano Donizetti, and Gioachino Rossini, whose works significantly influenced him. By his 30s, he had become one of the pre-eminent opera composers in history.

Omero Antonutti Italian actor

Omero Antonutti is an Italian actor and dubber, appearing regularly in films and theatre performances. He was born at Basiliano, Friuli.

Giampiero Albertini Italian actor, voice actor, and TV personality

Giampiero Albertini was an Italian actor, voice actor and TV personality.

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  1. The Life of Verdi at