By Stefano Bianchi (AIDA – Club dei 27)

We are sure that you will not believe what we’re about to tell you; we have struggled ourselves to believe it, but – sometimes – life brings strange surprises, which are able to encourage commitment and greater confidence in pursuing the things we believe in.

The same happened to Giuseppe Verdi. But let’s get to the facts now.

Given his remarkable musical talent, his music teacher Ferdinando Provesi and his great benefactor, and future father-in-law, Antonio Barezzi, convinced Verd’s father to enroll him at the Music Conservatory in Milan, getting a grant from the Duchess Maria Luigia.

In order to attend the Conservatory, however, it was necessary to pass an entrance examination. But, believe it or not, the young Verdi was rejected.

In truth, the Examining Board recognized his talent in music composition, but their judgement was negative for the following reasons: he was too old for the Conservatory; he was a foreigner (at the time, Italy was not one Nation, but it was divided into several small States); the position of his hands on the piano keyboard was not correct (he learned the position from the organist of his village, not from a proper teacher), and finally the available places for students were already gone.

However, when he was 80 years old, Verdi was offered to name the Milan Conservatory after him and he replied: “They didn’t want me when I was young, they will not have me now that I am old