BUSSETO:  Opera maestro Giuseppe Verdi, whose bicentenary is being celebrated on Thursday, is “still alive” in Italy — especially for the inhabitants of his native village of Busseto.

The world famous composer’s family home is surprisingly humble. On a crossroads, the grocery owned by his parents is on just one floor and has a handful of rooms, including a small stable. Mario Rossin and Laura Manfrenatto, a couple who have come to visit from Rovigo near Venice, said they wanted to be present for the 200th birthday of “our Verdi”, born on October 10, 1813.

“It is thanks to him that our country is known in the whole world with operas like ‘Aida’ and ‘Rigoletto’,” Rossin told AFP. His partner said she was “very emotional”. “Our three sons are at the conservatory and we know how difficult it is to choose music and study when you are not from a rich family,” she said.–afp

K-pop star Rain to hold first concert in Japan

SEOUL: South Korean pop icon Rain will visit Japan next month for his first concert tour after being released from military service, his agency said Tuesday.

The “2013 Rain Zepp Tour: Story of Rain” will begin with performances in Nagoya on November 14-15, Rain’s management agency Cube DC said.

The tour marking the 11th anniversary of Rain’s debut will also take him to Fukuoka, Osaka and Tokyo, it said.

The 31-year-old K-pop star was released after completing 21 months of mandatory military service in July.

Rain, whose real name is Jung Ji-Hoon, is one of the biggest names in the world of K-pop, which commands a huge following in South Korea, across much of Asia and beyond.–AFP