Giuseppe Verdi  

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Black Cloud: The great Italian composer fell into an abyss in 1840, at 27. His second opera had been a resounding flop, closing on opening night. Far worse: over the past two years, his beloved wife and both infant children had died, victims of cholera. Despondent, Verdi because a recluse, reading trashy Victorian novels and writing not a note. He planned to give up composing altogether. When a producer sent him the text for a proposed new Biblical opera, Nabucco, he threw it on the table in disgust.

Silver Lining: Call it divine inspiration or good fortune. But as the composer later recalled, “The roll of paper opened out; and without knowing quite how, I found myself staring at the page in front of me and my eyes fell on this line: ‘Va pensiero sull’ali dorati.’” (Translated: “Fly, thought, on the golden wings.”) The words—the opening of a chorus of exiled Hebrew slaves—gave Verdi a jolt: he saw the number as a metaphor for his nation’s patriots, struggling to free themselves from Austrian rule. He started writing obsessively. Nabuccoproved to be a smash, and Verdi went on to become Italy’s most celebrated composer, writing works like Aida and Rigoletto. “Va, pensiero,” meanwhile, is a melody everybody in Italy knows by heart; in 2008, an Italian senator proposed making it the national anthem.

Credit: “7 Famous People that Hit Rock Bottom and Turned It Around” by Fred Cohn, May 23, 2014.

I came across this short summary of Giuseppe Verdi’s “rock bottom” and the silver lining of it all from an article on AOL.com by Fred Cohn. He also included several other famous people in the article, here it is if you would like to view the entire article. Verdi’s story was the one that got my attention because of the inspiration I thought and then felt after reading this line ‘Va pensiero sull’ali dorati.’” (Translated: “Fly, thought, on the golden wings.”) , even when it is translated in English I am still unsure of its meaning despite reading it over several times. However the line intrigued me and got me thinking, what if there is one simple inspirational line or phrase out there for us all to get our inspirational juices flowing. What if you are one newspaper, book, bulletin board, or online article away from getting inspired and potentially becoming a great success that people will know and remember years and years after you are gone. What seems to not make sense to others can be the meaning of “life” to another. Even though Verdi was obviously a highly intelligent, emotional, and creative person, to us because he created such beautiful works of art. To himself he was his own worst critic and at first people did agree with “the worst” part. Being at rock bottom Verdi found inspiration and turned his career around to become a great Italian composer. As creative people, writers are always keeping their minds and thoughts open to different forms of inspiration. Giuseppe Verdi inspired me to look into some famous quotes, maybe one can inspire you into greatness.

1. Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. – Robert Frost

2. Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement. – W. Clement Stone

3. The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. – Chinese Proverb

4. Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.   – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

5. If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced. – Vincent Van Gogh

6. Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear. – George Addair

7. When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life.  When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I wrote down ‘happy’.  They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life. – John Lennon

8.When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. – Lao Tzu

9. If the wind will not serve, take to the oars. – Latin Proverb

10. I didn’t fail the test. I just found 100 ways to do it wrong. – Benjamin Franklin

Credit: Kevin Kruse Contributor, Forbes.