Sarah Joy Miller as Anna Nicole Smith in Anna Nicole by Mark-Anthony Turnage, the final production from the New York City Opera, which closed its doors for good this fall. Stephanie Berger hide caption

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Giuseppe Verdi's operas have an uncanny ability to probe into our contemporary psyche. Leemage/Universal Images Group/Getty Images hide caption

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Don't be caught fishing for facts about Verdi on the bicentennial of his birth. Getty Images/DeAgostini hide caption

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In his operas, Giuseppe Verdi had a knack for empowering marginalized people — like the title character of Aida, who is an enslaved Ethiopian princess (played in this 2011 French production by American soprano Indra Thomas). Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Soprano Angela Meade made her professional debut in the role of Elvira in Verdi's Ernani at the Metropolitan Opera. Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera hide caption

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