(b Kochowitz, nr Leitmeritz, Bohemia, Sept 20, 1832; d Stuttgart, April 1, 1915). Bohemian composer. After studying at the Prague Conservatory, he was engaged in 1853 as a double-bass player at the Stuttgart Hofkapelle where he then served as Kapellmeister from 1867 to 1888. Between 1852 and 1894 he composed orchestral and chamber music in addition to sacred and secular vocal works. He was most important in the field of operatic composition, his six operas winning him acclaim as one of the masters between Meyerbeer and Wagner. His first opera, Anna von Landscron (1858), was firmly rooted in the German Romantic opera tradition. However König Enzio, produced four years later, clearly showed the influence of French grand opera, which the composer had studied first-hand during a long visit to Paris. He was especially successful in 1866 with his third opera, Astorga, whose less dramatic text allowed scope for his primarily lyrical style to develop. In ...
Anna Amalie Abert
(b Santiago, 1863; d Santiago, May 29, 1911). Chilean composer. He studied theory and singing at the National Conservatory, and the organ and composition privately. He was organist at Santiago Cathedral, and occasionally conducted zarzuelas. In 1902 he composed the first act of his opera-ballet Caupolicán; based on the 16th-century poem La araucana by Alonso de Ercilla, the libretto is by Pedro Antonio Pérez and Adolfo Urzúa Rozas. The première of Act 1 took place at the Teatro Municipal, Santiago, in June 1902. Acevedo then received an award that enabled him to study in Milan, where he composed the last two acts of Caupolicán. The complete work, comprising three acts and 11 scenes, was given its first performance at the Teatro Municipal, Santiago, on 8 December 1942, more than 30 years after the composer’s death. Acevedo also composed masses and other religious works, but the public, devoted to Italian opera at that time, never accepted his music....
(b Hinsbourg, Jan 4, 1904; d Illkirch-Graffenstaden, Sept 7, 1984). French conductor, composer and opera administrator . He studied in Strasbourg with Erb and in Paris with Koechlin and Gédalge. He joined the Strasbourg Opera in 1933 as a répétiteur and stayed until he retired in 1972, being successively chorus master (1933–6), conductor from 1936, co-director (with Ernest Bour) from 1955 to 1960 and director (1960–72).
Adam sought to create a balanced repertory of French, German and Italian classics, together with contemporary works (such as Jean Martinon’s Hécube, 1956, which was specially commissioned) and revivals of rarely given masterpieces such as Les Troyens (1960) and Roussel’s Padmâvatî (1967). He gave the first French performances of Bizet’s Don Procopio (1958), Françaix’s L’apostrophe (1958), Dallapiccola’s Il prigioniero (1961), Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten (1965), Britten’s ...
(b Verona, Nov 4, 1878; d Milan, Oct 12, 1946). Italian playwright, librettist and journalist . After graduating in law at the University of Padua he devoted himself to literature, first as theatre critic of the Arena (Verona), then as playwright. His first stage work was the one-act comedy I fioi di Goldoni in Venetian dialect; thereafter he proved remarkably successful in a comic-sentimental vein with such plays as Una capanna e il tuo cuore (1913), Capelli bianchi (1915), Felicità Colombo (1935) and its sequel Nonna Felicità (1936). In 1911 he made the acquaintance of Giulio Ricordi, head of the publishing firm, of whom he left a valuable memoir in his Giulio Ricordi e i suoi musicisti (Milan, 1933, 2/1945 as Giulio Ricordi, amico dei musicisti). It was Ricordi who first put him in touch with Puccini, who briefly considered setting his Spanish-derived libretto ...
Lesley A. Wright
(b Paris, June 28, 1823; d Paris, Jan 1900). French playwright and librettist. He studied at the Collège Bourbon (Lycée Condorcet) and began his career as a dramatist with Le fils du bonnetier (1841), a vaudeville written with Ludger Berton. For the next decade, however, he was employed in business and on the editorial staff of the daily newspaper Le corsaire (1847–9). He began writing more vaudevilles and comedies in the 1850s, usually in collaboration with others. He was a member of the Société des Gens de Lettres and secretary of the Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques.
From 1856 onwards Adenis, in collaboration or alone, produced the librettos for more than two dozen opéras comiques, opérettes and opéras. He worked with Bizet, also a good friend, and with Guiraud and Massenet early in their careers. Contemporary critics occasionally judged his work harshly but he seems to have been generally regarded as competent and dependable, if unoriginal. His sons Eugène and Édouard also wrote plays and librettos; their work is sometimes confused with that of their father....
(b Erpent, Namur, July 17, 1833; d London, Feb 2, 1875). Belgian bass and composer. He studied in Brussels where his opera Hermold le Normand was performed at the Théâtre de la Monnaie on 16 March 1858. After a period of study in Paris he toured Germany and the Netherlands with Merelli’s Italian company, then in ...
(b Bilbao, Aug 10, 1838; d Mendoza, Argentina, July 19, 1901). Spanish composer. He studied in Madrid, Paris, and then Milan, where he was a pupil of Lauro Rossi. He held conducting posts in Bilbao and Madrid before settling in Buenos Aires in 1876, where he conducted at the Teatro de la Opera. He sometimes acted as impresario, and his final appointment was as director of the National Conservatory of Music.
Most of Aguirre’s music is lost, including the opera Gli amanti di Teruel (first performed at the Teatro Principal in Valencia on 16 December 1865). With an Italian text (by Rosario Zapater) and cast with Italian singers, the opera reflected the domination of Italian opera in Spain at the time. It was favourably received in the press, but comparisons made with Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti suggest it was of no great originality. Aguirre wrote two other operas, ...
James P. Cassaro
(b New York, Sept 7, 1924). American composer. He studied at the Juilliard School (where he later taught) with Persichetti, Bernard Wagenaar, and Robert Ward. In 1970 he was appointed chairman of the music department at William Paterson College in Wayne, New Jersey, where he became professor of music in 1973.
With firm musical principles rooted in Classical models, Aitken uses various effects to produce what he considers to be appropriate moods for his works. His style can be characterized as conservative and neoclassical, with rich polyphonic textures reminiscent of Hindemith, although more lyrical. His style is best demonstrated in works such as the Aspen Concerto (1989) and the Violin Concerto (1986), the first of which emphasizes line and development, while the second employs long, angular melodies that are tossed between soloist and orchestra. Later works like Songs and Caprices (2001) are not harmonically adventurous, but use popular and international styles as inspiration. The percussion writing in this work is perhaps its most striking feature. Like Stravinsky and Charles Wuorinen, Aitken has looked to earlier music as an inspiration for several of his works. In ...
(b Pesaro, Nov 30, 1748; d Warsaw, March 27, 1812). Polish composer of Italian birth . He was known as an aria composer and ‘young virtuoso’ in 1777. Later he was conductor at Prince Karol Radziwiłł’s residence at Nieśwież, and from 1782 maître de chapelle at King Stanisław August Poniatowski’s court in Warsaw. In 1796 he went to Rome, and in autumn 1803 was back in Poland, where he spent the rest of his life. He is principally known for his opera Don Juan albo Ukarany libertyn (‘Don Juan, or The Rake Punished’), believed to have been performed in Warsaw with an Italian text by G. Bertati in 1780–81; in 1783 it was performed in Polish, and it was later twice revised by Albertini for performances in 1790 and 1803.
Rudolf A. Rasch
(b Amsterdam, Nov 16, 1664; d Batavia, Dutch East Indies, Oct 4, 1721). Netherlands poet and playwright . Born into a wealthy family, he studied law in Leiden and Utrecht. He was one of the most important and prolific Netherlands poets and playwrights of the decades around 1700, although his works are now little esteemed. He wrote numerous song texts, as well as librettos for ...
(b Moscow, 13/May 25, 1888; d Moscow, April 16, 1982). Russian composer . He studied with Taneyev, Vasilenko and Konstantin Igumnov at the Moscow conservatory (1910–16), where from 1923 until 1964 he was a composition professor. In general his music is characterized by emotional depth and colourfulness, and by its close links with l9th-century Russian traditions. His six operas, which span his creative career, are lyrical, melodic and expressively direct with flexible and varied vocal parts. These works incorporate folk melodies and employ leitmotif technique. Bela, commissioned by the Bol’shoy Theatre for the centenary of Lermontov’s death, ran for a year after its first performance on 10 December 1946. The music includes melodies collected in the Caucasus by Taneyev in 1885. Although the opera has not been revived and its final version, completed in 1949 was never staged, Alexandrov derived four later works (op.51a–d) from its music. ...
James L. Jackman
(b ?Milan, c 1710; d Frankfurt, c 1792). Italian composer . One of the numerous Italian musicians who found careers north of the Alps, he worked as a cellist for the Bavarian court at Munich from 1731. In 1737 he became composer of chamber music, and in 1744 Konzertmeister; he retired in 1778.
Aliprandi’s works for the Bavarian court opera include Mitridate (B. Pasqualigo; 1738, vs F-Pn ; D-Dl ) and Semiramide riconosciuta (P. Metastasio; 1740, vs F-Pn ); he also wrote a festa teatrale for Nymphenburg, Apollo trà le muse in Parnasso (Perozzo do Perozzi, 1737), two works for the Munich College of Jesuits (1737–8), a Stabat mater (1749) and some instrumental music. The Iphigenia in Aulide (1739, Munich, vs F-Pn ) sometimes attributed to Aliprandi was probably by Giovanni Porta. In Münster’s judgment Aliprandi’s style was conservative, isolated from the newer Italian operatic developments....
Xoán M. Carreira
[Juan Pedro, Giovanni Pietro, Carlos Francisco]
(b Lisbon, June 24, 1744; d Madrid, c 1817). Portuguese tenor and composer active in Spain. He sang in Lisbon, Braga, Santiago de Compostela and Mondeñedo (after October 1772) and as maestro de capilla in Lugo (after July 1775) and Astorga (after March 1783). He then went to Madrid as maestro de música at the Real Capilla.
Most of his compositions are liturgical, but some secular works have survived, including two arias for soprano and orchestra, ‘Mi sento il cor trafiggere’ and ‘Quegl’ occhietti si fur’, which may be fragments of an opera.
On 15 August 1774 his opera buffa Il matrimonio per concorso was first performed at Mondoñedo. The libretto was by Gaetano Martinelli, a poet at the Portuguese court and the author of several other librettos. The score is lost but programmes have survived, with text in Italian and Spanish.X. M. Carreira...
(b Granada, May 9, 1887; d Madrid, May 18, 1948). Spanish composer . He displayed musical ability from an early age but studied medicine before turning to music. At 18 he became director of a military band, conducted the Granada Philharmonic Society, and composed his first zarzuela, La niña de los cantares. He moved to Madrid to further a theatrical career, and in the 1920s produced a succession of works that proved hugely popular for their colourfully orchestrated scores and rousing melodies. A particular feature of his output was the dedication of works to various provinces of Spain. He composed about 150 works for the stage; besides zarzuelas, he wrote many individual songs and complete scores for revues.
(b Prostějov, Sept 12, 1890; d Prostějov, May 12, 1956). Czech composer . He studied at Brno and Frankfurt, where he was taught composition by Knorr. He was répétiteur at the Frankfurt Opera (1911–13), conductor of the Carl Rosa company and répétiteur at Covent Garden (1915–18). After returning to Czechoslovakia in 1921 he worked in Prostějov as a teacher, choirmaster and conductor, and was head of the Břeclav School of Music, 1926–8. At first influenced by Janáček, as in the opera Ukradené štěstí (‘Stolen Happiness’), Ambros later successfully assimilated Novákian impressionism. In a final period (1945 – 56) he turned to a socialist realist technique, basing his works on contemporary subjects, though his only opera from this period, Maryla (1949–51), is an idyll set in the 15th century. Ambros was most successful, however, with miniatures and works for children.
(b Odense, April 2, 1805; d Copenhagen, Aug 4, 1875). Danish writer and librettist . Best known for his collection of fairy-tales (158 published 1835–72), he originally aspired to be an actor or singer and worked in the Royal Theatre, Copenhagen. From 1832 he also wrote librettos, including adaptations of Walter Scott’s novel The Bride of Lammermoor, as Bredal’s Bruden fra Lammermoor (1832), and Alessandro Manzoni’s novel I promessi sposi, as Gläser’s Brylluppet ved Como-Söen (‘The Wedding by Lake Como’, 1849). His tales, with their timeless characters, universal subject matter and richness of imagination, have been a popular source for opera and ballet librettos, inspiring dozens of works in the past hundred years.Fyrtøjet [The Tinderbox]: Chevreuille, 1950, as D’un diable de briquet; N. E. Fougstedt, 1950, as Tulukset Grantraet [The Christmas Tree]: Rebikov, 1903, as Yolka Historien om en moder [The Story of a Mother]: Petyrek, 1923, as Die arme Mutter und der Tod; Sternefeld, 1935, as Mater dolorosa; ...
(b Mainz, Jan 13, 1883; d Wiesbaden, Sept 15, 1978). German librettist and publisher. In 1909 he joined his father Ludwig Strecker (1853–1943) as a partner in the music publishing house of Schott in Mainz, becoming a director with his brother Willy Strecker (1884–1958) in 1920. From an early age he had shown a deep interest in literature and poetry, and during the 1930s began to develop his skills as a librettist, adopting the professional pseudonym of Ludwig Andersen. His first efforts were in oratorio, but he soon moved on to opera, adapting Franz Graf von Pocci’s tale Die Zaubergeige (1935) for Werner Egk, Karl Simrock’s version of the medieval puppet play Doktor Johannes Faust (1936) for Hermann Reutter, and Hermann Heinz Ortner’s drama Tobias Wunderlich (1937) for Joseph Haas. The first two of these works ranked among the most frequently performed contemporary operas in Nazi Germany and were largely responsible for securing Schott’s reputation as the pre-eminent German publisher of music-theatre works of the period. During World War II Andersen completed librettos for two comic operas, Wolf-Ferrari’s ...
Robert Lamar Weaver
(bc1755; dc1829). Italian impresario and librettist. His family was from Vicenza. Though trained as a lawyer, he chose instead to become an actor like his parents, and joined first Pietro Rossi’s company in Venice and then, around 1777, the Compagnia Nazionale Toscana in Florence, directed by Giovanni Roffi. His first tragedy, Le glorie della religione di Malta, had success in many Italian theatres. He succeeded Roffi as impresario of the Teatro del Cocomero in 1785 and served until 1795, visiting Milan for a season in 1792.
Andolfati’s greatest importance lies in his cultivation of Florentine poets and composers for the Cocomero’s musical repertory. His contract there required him to translate French farces into Italian; in addition to the librettos listed below that are almost certainly his work, he probably wrote the otherwise anonymous librettos for most of the farse and some of the intermezzos given at the theatre during his tenure....
Michaela Freemanová and Geoffrey Chew
(fl 1760–1806). Czech composer. He was a teacher in Nemyčeves near Jičín (1760–92), then in Kopidlno. Most of his work output consists of church music, but he also wrote the Opera de rebellione boëmica rusticorum, which deals with the great peasant rebellion in East Bohemia of 1775. The work seems to have gained popularity in its time: it appears in several musical collections, and also as a spoken drama. The opera is composed in a late Baroque idiom, with Rococo features; to highlight the contrast between the lives of peasants and the nobility, it uses elements of folk and art music.J. Němeček: Lidové zpěvohry a písně z doby roboty [Folk Singspiels and songs from the time of serfdom] (Prague, 1954)T. Volek: ‘První české zpěvohry’ [The first Czech Singspiels], Dějiny českého divadla [History of Czech theatre], vol.1: Od počátku do sklonku osmnáctého století [From the Beginning to the end of the 18th century], ed. ...
(b Mykolaïv, Dec 26, 1852/Jan 7, 1853; d Mykolaïv, 13/March 26, 1909). Ukrainian composer . He was the author of a comprehensive history of Ukraine, Istoriya UkrainïRusi (St Petersburg, 1908) and collected over 80 Ukrainian folksongs. After graduating from Odessa University he worked at the Mykolaïv Naval Office until 1899, then established a Ukrainian-language school, which was closed by authorities after only two years. He began composing the opera Kateryna, to his own libretto based on the poem by Taras Shevchenko, in the late 1880s, completing it in 1891; it was later edited and orchestrated by Hlib Taranov. The piano score was published in 1897 and two years later, on 12 February 1899, Marko Kropyvnytsky staged it in Moscow. The style of Kateryna is essentially lyrical, making much use of folksongs and dance rhythms. Although its structure and harmonic language is at times quite unsophisticated, it nevertheless derives considerable emotional power from its melodic and psychological interest....