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Verdi! Verdi!

While Verdi was cheered by Italian patriots at every performance, their applause was perhaps not entirely attributable to a love of opera. By a curious coincidence, the composer's surname was an acronym of the phrase dearest to the heart of every Italian nationalist after 1861: "Vittorio Emmanuele, Re d'Italia!"

[In 1981, a collection of small-scale instrumental works -- believed by many to have been written by the composer as a teenager -- was recovered from a dumpster where they were accidentally thrown by church authorities. (Verdi destroyed many of his early works; others were burned by his family after he died.)]

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