Julian Medforth Budden OBE FBA (9 April 1924 in Hoylake, Wirral – 28 February 2007 in Florence, Italy) was a British opera scholar, radio producer and broadcaster. He is particularly known for his three volumes on the operas of Giuseppe Verdi (published in 1973, 1978, and 1981), a single-volume biography in 1982 and a single-volume work on Giacomo Puccini and his operas in 2002. He is also the author of numerous entries in the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians .
Fellowship of the British Academy (FBA) is an award granted by the British Academy to leading academics for their distinction in the humanities and social sciences. There are three kinds of fellowship:
Hoylake is a seaside town within the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, Merseyside, England. The town is located at the north western corner of the Wirral Peninsula, near to the town of West Kirby and where the River Dee estuary meets the Irish Sea. Historically part of Cheshire, at the time of the Domesday it was within the Hundred of Wilaveston.
Wirral, also known as The Wirral, is a peninsula in North West England. The Metropolitan Borough of Wirral is part of the Liverpool City Region. It is bounded to the west by the River Dee, forming a boundary with Wales, to the east by the River Mersey, and to the north by the Irish Sea.
His parents were the then professor of architecture at Liverpool University, Lionel Budden, and a poet, writer and journalist Maud, (née Fraser) who from 1938 until 1964 provided the rhymes for the strip Curly Wee and Gussie Goose, which was syndicated in newspapers throughout the world. Neither of his parents was especially musical and were not interested in what little opera was available locally. His operatic awakening occurred at school when a touring company with piano accompaniment and spoken recitatives performed The Marriage of Figaro.
He attended Stowe School and read Classics at Queen's College Oxford.The war interrupted his studies; he worked in the Friends' Ambulance Unit from 1943–46, serving in Austria and Italy. He completed his BA in 1948 and then studied piano (with Thornton Lofthouse) and bassoon (with Archie Camden) at the Royal College of Music.
Stowe School is a selective independent school in Stowe, Buckinghamshire. It was opened on 11 May 1923, initially with 99 schoolboys, and with J. F. Roxburgh as the first headmaster. The school is a member of the Rugby Group, the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference, and the G20 Schools' Group. Originally for boys only, the school is now coeducational, with some 550 boys and 220 girls.
The Queen's College is a constituent college of the University of Oxford, England. The college was founded in 1341 by Robert de Eglesfield (d'Eglesfield) in honour of Queen Philippa of Hainault. It is distinguished by its predominantly neoclassical architecture, which includes buildings designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor.
The Friends' Ambulance Unit (FAU) was a volunteer ambulance service, founded by individual members of the British Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), in line with their Peace Testimony. The FAU operated from 1914–1919, 1939–1946 and 1946–1959 in 25 different countries around the world. It was independent of the Quakers' organisation and chiefly staffed by registered conscientious objectors.
From 1951 until 1983 Budden worked for the BBC, progressing from junior posts to become a producer, then Chief Producer of Opera (1970–76) and External Services Music Organizer (1976–83). This time saw many little-known works produced and important revivals, including the original versions of Macbeth , La forza del destino and Simon Boccanegra and the full French version of Don Carlos .He also produced programmes for others, and was meticulous in checking scripts and encouraging contributions.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters are at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London, and it is the world's oldest national broadcasting organisation and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees. It employs over 20,950 staff in total, 16,672 of whom are in public sector broadcasting. The total number of staff is 35,402 when part-time, flexible, and fixed-contract staff are included.
Macbeth is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi, with an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave and additions by Andrea Maffei, based on William Shakespeare's play of the same name. Written for the Teatro della Pergola in Florence, it was Verdi's tenth opera and premiered on 14 March 1847. Macbeth was the first Shakespeare play that Verdi adapted for the operatic stage. Almost twenty years later, Macbeth was revised and expanded in a French version and given in Paris on 19 April 1865.
La forza del destino is an Italian opera by Giuseppe Verdi. The libretto was written by Francesco Maria Piave based on a Spanish drama, Don Álvaro o la fuerza del sino (1835), by Ángel de Saavedra, 3rd Duke of Rivas, with a scene adapted from Friedrich Schiller's Wallensteins Lager. It was first performed in the Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre of Saint Petersburg, Russia, on 10 November 1862 O.S..
Concurrently Budden pursued a career as a writer, starting with the BBC publication, The Listener . Then came his major study of Verdi, built on the foundation of "patient archival research, practical musicianship, a sense of history and wide cultural sympathies", with every opera covered by a detailed discussion of the literary background, compositional process, and the music as part of the drama. The books were "free from obscure technical analysis or deconstructionist jargon".His writing style was "generous to past scholars... generous to his readers. [His prose was] full of wit and relaxed communication". Budden was considered a key person in securing the reputation of Verdi during the second half of the twentieth century.
The Listener was a weekly magazine established by the BBC in January 1929 which ceased publication in 1991. The entire digitised archive was made available for purchase online to libraries, educational and research institutions in 2011.
After leaving the BBC he was based in both London and Florence (he spoke fluent Italian), where he was a regular correspondent for Opera magazine and was a presence at the Istituto Nazionale di Studi Verdiani in Parma. He was president of the Centro di Studi Giacomo Puccini in Lucca until his death.
Opera is a monthly British magazine devoted to covering all things related to opera. It contains reviews and articles about current opera productions internationally, as well as articles on opera recordings, opera singers, opera companies, opera directors, and opera books. The magazine also contains major features and analysis on individual operas and people associated with opera.
Parma is a city in the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna famous for its architecture, music, art, prosciutto (ham), cheese and surrounding countryside. It is home to the University of Parma, one of the oldest universities in the world. Parma is divided into two parts by the stream of the same name. The district on the far side of the river is Oltretorrente. Parma's Etruscan name was adapted by Romans to describe the round shield called Parma.
Lucca is a city and comune in Tuscany, Central Italy, on the Serchio, in a fertile plain near the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital of the Province of Lucca. It is famous for its intact Renaissance-era city walls.
He was made a Fellow of the British Academy in 1987 and appointed an OBE for services to opera in 1991.
Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini was an Italian opera composer who has been called "the greatest composer of Italian opera after Verdi".
La traviata is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi set to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave. It is based on La Dame aux camélias (1852), a play adapted from the novel by Alexandre Dumas fils. The opera was originally titled Violetta, after the main character. It was first performed on 6 March 1853 at the La Fenice opera house in Venice.
Il trovatore is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto largely written by Salvadore Cammarano, based on the play El trovador (1836) by Antonio García Gutiérrez. It was Gutiérrez's most successful play, one which Verdi scholar Julian Budden describes as "a high flown, sprawling melodrama flamboyantly defiant of the Aristotelian unities, packed with all manner of fantastic and bizarre incident."
Don Carlos is a five-act grand opera composed by Giuseppe Verdi to a French-language libretto by Joseph Méry and Camille du Locle, based on the dramatic play Don Carlos, Infant von Spanien by Friedrich Schiller. In addition, it has been noted by David Kimball that the Fontainebleau scene and auto da fé "were the most substantial of several incidents borrowed from a contemporary play on Philip II by Eugène Cormon". The opera is most often performed in Italian translation, usually under the title Don Carlo.
Oberto, Conte di San Bonifacio is an opera in two acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Temistocle Solera, based on an existing libretto by Antonio Piazza probably called Rocester.
Un giorno di regno, ossia Il finto Stanislao is an operatic melodramma giocoso in two acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto written in 1818 by Felice Romani. Originally written for the Bohemian composer Adalbert Gyrowetz the libretto was based on the play Le faux Stanislas written by the Frenchman Alexandre-Vincent Pineux Duval in 1808. Un giorno was given its premiere performance at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan on 5 September 1840.
Aroldo is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, based on and adapted from their earlier 1850 collaboration, Stiffelio. The first performance was given in the Teatro Nuovo Comunale in Rimini on 16 August 1857.
Les vêpres siciliennes is a grand opera in five acts by the Italian romantic composer Giuseppe Verdi set to a French libretto by Eugène Scribe and Charles Duveyrier from their work Le duc d'Albe, which was written in 1838. Les vêpres followed immediately after Verdi's three great mid-career masterpieces, Rigoletto, Il trovatore and La traviata of 1850 to 1853 and was first performed at the Paris Opéra on 13 June 1855.
Giovanna d'Arco is an operatic dramma lirico with a prologue and three acts by Giuseppe Verdi set to an Italian libretto by Temistocle Solera, who had prepared the libretti for Nabucco and I Lombardi. It is Verdi's seventh opera.
Attila is an opera in a prologue and three acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Temistocle Solera, based on the 1809 play Attila, König der Hunnen by Zacharias Werner. The opera received its first performance at La Fenice in Venice on 17 March 1846.
Il corsaro is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi, from a libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, based on Lord Byron's poem The Corsair. The first performance was given at the Teatro Grande in Trieste on 25 October 1848.
La battaglia di Legnano is an opera in four acts, with music by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian-language libretto by Salvadore Cammarano. It was based on the play La Bataille de Toulouse by Joseph Méry, later the co-librettist of Don Carlos.
Alzira is an opera in a prologue and two acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Salvatore Cammarano, based on the 1736 play Alzire, ou les Américains by Voltaire.
Roger Parker is an English musicologist and, since January 2007, has been Thurston Dart Professor of Music at King's College London. His work has centred on opera. Between 2006 and 2010, while Professor of Music at Gresham College, London, Parker presented four series of free public lectures, one example being "Verdi and Milan" in 2007 which is available on video.
"E lucevan le stelle" is a romantic aria from the third act of Giacomo Puccini's opera Tosca from 1900, composed to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa. It is sung in act 3 by Mario Cavaradossi (tenor), a painter in love with the singer Tosca, while he waits for his execution on the roof of Castel Sant'Angelo.
David Rosen is an expert in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Italian opera. He is noted for having discovered the complete score of Messa per Rossini, presumed lost, in the archives of the Italian music publishing house G. Ricordi & Co in 1986.
Lodovico Graziani was an Italian operatic tenor. According to John Warrack and Ewan West, writing in The Oxford Dictionary of Opera: "His voice was clear and vibrant, but he lacked dramatic gifts." He is now mainly remembered for having created the role of Alfredo Germont in the world premiere of Giuseppe Verdi's La traviata in 1853.
Deborah Burton is an American music theorist, pianist, and academic. She is particularly known for her publications on Giacomo Puccini and his works, including the 2004 book Tosca's Prism: Three Moments of Western Cultural History. She has contributed articles to numerous music journals, including Nuova Rivista Musicale, Opera Quarterly, Studi Musicali, and Theoria.
Emma Zilli was an Italian soprano, possibly best known for creating the role of Alice in Verdi's Falstaff in 1893.