Verdi’s early production includes an opera, Un giorno di regno, that had a particularly unlucky fate. After the success of his first opera, Oberto, conte di San Bonifacio, Verdi was given by the impresario Bartolomeo Merelli the task of composing a comic opera for the Teatro alla Scala; but this work coincided with the death of his wife, which took place shortly after the death of his two sons. The levity of the subject-matter of this opera was inevitably incompatible with Verdi’s grief. His opera was a complete fiasco at the premiere of 5 September 1840, in Milan, and was withdrawn that very evening. The newspapers were particularly cruel with the composer, so much so that almost twenty years later Verdi, in a letter to his publisher Tito Ricordi, wrote that they had mistreated “the work of a poor young man who was ill, rushed, and devastated by a horrible calamity”. In the same letter, Verdi added that, even supposing that Un giorno di regno was a bad opera, many others “that were no better than it have been tolerated and maybe even applauded”. Five years after its first night, after Verdi had met with a real triumph with Nabucco, Un giorno di regno was quite successful in Venice at the Teatro San Benedetto. As a matter of fact, to present-day listeners, this opera is far from being as disastrous as it has been considered for many years.