The extent to which Verdi the artist was engagé, and the importance (or lack thereof) of “Va’, pensiero” during the Risorgimento, have been hot topics in Verdi studies in recent years.
I shall not take on those subjects today. Instead, I wish to call your attention to something extraordinary that happened in Italy on Saturday evening. At the Opera di Roma, Nabucco was on the boards, conducted by Riccardo Muti. Before the performance, the mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, called upon the Italian government to revoke the draconian cuts to arts funding.