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date: 02 April 2020

Arditi, Luigi (USA)locked

  • Keith Horner
  • , revised by R. Allen Lott
  •  and E. Douglas Bomberger


(b Crescentino, Italy, July 16, 1822; d Hove, England, May 1, 1903). Italian conductor and composer. After studying and working in Milan until 1846, he went with Giovanni Bottesini to Havana, where he conducted the Havana Italian Opera Company and produced his own one-act opera, Il corsaro. In the summer months he performed in the United States and conducted the Havana company in New York in 1847 and 1850. From 1851 to 1856 he was the conductor for various opera troupes in New York, including Maretzek’s company (1851), and toured with Marietta Alboni. He conducted the concert for the opening of the Academy of Music (2 October 1854), where his opera La spia, based on James Fenimore Cooper’s novel The Spy, was given its first performance on 24 March 1856. The New York Courier and Enquirer opined:

Written by an Italian, to Italian words, in the Italian style, for Italian singers, there is not even the shadow of a ground for calling La Spia an American work. Let us not deceive ourselves. It is well for the arts to flourish here; but it is not well for us to be deluded with the idea that we have American Art, when we have no such thing, but are cultivating an exotic… . But when music in this country does assume a character of its own, we can only wish the composer of the first American opera the good fortune to meet with a manager so ready to encourage him and bring him advantageously before the public as the present director of the affairs of the Academy of Music....

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S. Sadie and J. Tyrell, eds.: The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2/London, 2001)