Umberto Giordano

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Umberto Giordano
Umberto Giordano by Gaetano Esposito.jpg
Umberto Giordano (1896) portrayed by Gaetano Esposito
Born(1867-08-28)28 August 1867
Died12 November 1948 (1948-11-13) (aged 81)

Umberto Menotti Maria Giordano (28 August 1867 12 November 1948) was an Italian composer, mainly of operas.

Opera artform combining sung text and musical score in a theatrical setting

Opera is a form of theatre in which music has a leading role and the parts are taken by singers, but is distinct from musical theater. Such a "work" is typically a collaboration between a composer and a librettist and incorporates a number of the performing arts, such as acting, scenery, costume, and sometimes dance or ballet. The performance is typically given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble, which since the early 19th century has been led by a conductor.


He was born in Foggia in Apulia, southern Italy, and studied under Paolo Serrao at the Conservatoire of Naples. [1] His first opera, Marina, was written for a competition promoted by the music publishers Casa Sonzogno for the best one-act opera, remembered today because it marked the beginning of Italian verismo . The winner was Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana . Giordano, the youngest contestant, was placed sixth among seventy-three entries with his Marina, a work which generated enough interest for Sonzogno to commission the staging of an opera based on it in the 1891–92 season. [2]

Foggia Comune in Apulia, Italy

Foggia is a city and comune of Apulia, in southern Italy, capital of the province of Foggia. In 2013 its population was 153,143. Foggia is the main city of a plain called Tavoliere, also known as the "granary of Italy".

Apulia Region of Italy

Apulia is a region in Southern Italy bordering the Adriatic Sea to the east, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the Strait of Otranto and Gulf of Taranto to the south. The region comprises 19,345 square kilometers (7,469 sq mi), and its population is about four million.

Italy republic in Southern Europe

Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe.

The result was Mala vita , a gritty verismo opera about a labourer who vows to reform a prostitute if he is cured of his tuberculosis. This work caused something of a scandal when performed at the Teatro Argentina, Rome, in February 1892. It played successfully in Vienna, Prague and Berlin and was re-written as Il Voto a few years later, in an attempt to raise interest in the work again. [3]

<i>Mala vita</i> opera

Mala vita is an opera in three acts composed by Umberto Giordano to a libretto by Nicola Daspuro adapted from Salvatore Di Giacomo and Goffredo Cognetti's verismo play of the same name. Giordano's first full-length opera, Mala vita premiered on 21 February 1892 at the Teatro Argentina. It was subsequently performed in Naples, Vienna, Berlin and Milan, and other Italian cities over the next two years. In 1897 a considerably re-worked and revised version under the title Il voto premiered in Milan. Within a few years both versions had disappeared from the repertoire. Amongst its rare modern revivals was the 2002 performance at the Teatro Umberto Giordano in Foggia which was recorded live and released on the Bongiovanni label.

Teatro Argentina Theater in Rome, Italy

The Teatro Argentina is an opera house and theatre located in Largo di Torre Argentina, a square in Rome, Italy. One of the oldest theatres in Rome, it was constructed in 1731 and inaugurated on 31 January 1732 with Berenice by Domenico Sarro. It is built over part of the curia section of the Theatre of Pompey. This curia was the location of the assassination of Julius Caesar.

Giordano tried a more romantic topic with his next opera, Regina Diaz , with a libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci (1894), but this was a failure, taken off the stage after just two performances. [4]

<i>Regina Diaz</i> opera

Regina Diaz is an opera in two acts composed by Umberto Giordano to a libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci. It premiered on 5 March 1894 at the Teatro Mercadante in Naples. The libretto is based on Lockroy and Edmond Badon's Un duel sous le cardinal de Richelieu, which was also the source of Donizetti's 1843 opera Maria di Rohan, although the setting for Giordano's version was moved from 17th-century Paris to 18th-century Naples. The opera was a failure at its premiere and withdrawn after the second performance. Giordano's patron and publisher, Edoardo Sonzogno, blamed the failure on the poor libretto. Giordano blamed it on Sonzogno's interference in the production.

Libretto text used for an extended musical work

A libretto is the text used in, or intended for, an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata or musical. The term libretto is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as the Mass, requiem and sacred cantata, or the story line of a ballet.

Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti Italian opera librettist

Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti was an Italian librettist, best known for his friendship and collaboration with the composer Pietro Mascagni. Most of his libretti were written in collaboration with Guido Menasci.

Umberto Giordano, 1905 Umberto Giordano, Italian composer.jpg
Umberto Giordano, 1905

Giordano then moved to Milan and returned to verismo with his best-known work, Andrea Chénier (1896), based on the life of the French poet André Chénier. [5] Fedora (1898), based on Victorien Sardou's play, featured a rising young tenor named Enrico Caruso. [6] It was also a success and is still performed today. His later works are much less known, but occasionally revived and in the case of La cena delle beffe (based on the play of the same title by Sem Benelli) recognised by musicologists and critics with some respect. [7] He died in Milan at the age of 81. [8]

Milan Italian city

Milan is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the second-most populous city in Italy after Rome, with the city proper having a population of 1,372,810 while its metropolitan area has a population of 3,245,308. Its continuously built-up urban area has a population estimated to be about 5,270,000 over 1,891 square kilometres. The wider Milan metropolitan area, known as Greater Milan, is a polycentric metropolitan region that extends over central Lombardy and eastern Piedmont and which counts an estimated total population of 7.5 million, making it by far the largest metropolitan area in Italy and the 54th largest in the world. Milan served as capital of the Western Roman Empire from 286 to 402 and the Duchy of Milan during the medieval period and early modern age.

<i>Andrea Chénier</i> opera composed by Umberto Giordano

Andrea Chénier is a verismo opera in four acts by Umberto Giordano, set to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica, and first performed on 28 March 1896 at La Scala, Milan. The story is based loosely on the life of the French poet André Chénier (1762–1794), who was executed during the French Revolution. The character Carlo Gérard is partly based on Jean-Lambert Tallien, a leading figure in the Revolution. It remains popular with audiences, though less frequently performed than in the first half of the 20th century. One reason for its survival in the repertoire is the lyrical-dramatic music provided by Giordano for the tenor lead, which gives a talented singer opportunities to demonstrate his histrionic skill and flaunt his voice. Giuseppe Borgatti's triumph in the title role at the first performance immediately propelled him to the front rank of Italian opera singers. He went on to become Italy's greatest Wagnerian tenor, rather than a verismo-opera specialist.

André Chénier French poet

André Marie Chénier was a French poet of Greek and Franco-Levantine origin, associated with the events of the French Revolution of which he was a victim. His sensual, emotive poetry marks him as one of the precursors of the Romantic movement. His career was brought to an abrupt end when he was guillotined for supposed "crimes against the state", just three days before the end of the Reign of Terror. Chénier's life has been the subject of Umberto Giordano's opera Andrea Chénier and other works of art.

The most important theater in his home town of Foggia has been dedicated to Umberto Giordano. A square in Foggia is also named after him and contains several statues representing his most famous works. [9]


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<i>Mese mariano</i> opera

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<i>La cena delle beffe</i>

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  6. Pierre Van Rensselaer Key, Bruno Zirato (1922). Enrico Caruso: A Biography. Little, Brown. p. 99.
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