Giuseppe Verdi was one of the most influential composers of the 19th century, whose operas are still widely performed and admired today. He was born in 1813 in a small village near Parma, Italy, and showed an early talent for music. He studied with local teachers and later moved to Milan, where he unsuccessfully applied to the conservatory. He then became a pupil of Vincenzo Lavigna, a former conductor at La Scala opera house.