Leoncavallo is one of the 'one hit wonders' of the world of opera. His one act opera 'Pagliacci' is consistently in the top 20 of opera performances, usually paired with Mascagni's 'Cavalleria Rusticana'.
Born: 8 March 1857, Naples, Italy
Father: Vincenzo, police magistrate
Mother: Virginia D'Auria from a Neapolitan artistic family
Siblings: 2 brothers - Leone and Gastone
Wife: Marie Bertha Jean Rambaud, singer
Died: Montecatini Terme, Tuscany. 9 August 1919.
Grave: Cimitero Monumentale Delle Porte Sante, Florence, Italy
10 operas including:
- I Medici
- La Bohème
vocal works including:
- 10 operettas
- a Requiem
- various songs
some piano works
some orchestral works
He was also a talented librettist writing the librettos for his own operas and also for others. Some consider him the greatest Italian librettist.
Poster from zazzle (click on image)
- "When I need the idea, I can find it immediately. I have a horror of rewriting or deleting; the parts of my composition are carried in my head 'till I can write them down, even to the last note. Then I do not alter a jot."
- "This new art made a deep impression on me, and I began to study it ardently."
- I find it quite impossible to set to music somebody else's words. I do not understand how any really artistic work can be created in that way. With me words and notes are simultaneous; at least, while I am writing the text, the scaffolding, the framework of the music is going up. The phrasing, the elaboration come afterward.
The video below is of the actual record being played.
The photo (courtesy Wikipedia) is of Caruso playing a "Victrola" phonograph.
- Music with Ease a brief bography
- Leoncavallo Festival
-Italian Composers - more profiles here at 52composers