Not to overly spoil the surprise, but the following video depicts a random group of people bursting into “Va Pensiero” at a mall. Well-worth watching.
Couldn’t stop smiling. Who knew there were flash choruses? I NEED to participate in one ASAP.
In other news, this is the article from which I got the video. Apparently “Va Pensiero” only became a rallying cry for Italian unification some years after its publication, contrary to common lore.
The image of Verdi as a “revolutionary” composer . . . became standard in the early 20th century; it was encouraged during the Fascist years (the state-sponsored 1941 Verdi celebrations were a high point), and was sustained post-war by a continuing adherence to the “heroic” aspects of Italian nationalism.
In spite of all this latter-day boosting, there is, alas, no evidence that the chorus excited patriotic fervour in its early years (a often-repeated tale about it being encored on opening night by enflamed patriots is a blatant invention).