Pietro Mascagni and His Operas

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UPNE, 2002 - Biography & Autobiography - 378 pages
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Just twenty-six when the electrifying premiere of his Cavalleria Rusticana at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome catapulted the impoverished musician into sudden fame and fortune, Pietro Mascagni (1863-1945) went on to write fifteen more operas, including L'Amico Fritz, Guglielmo Ratcliff, Iris, Parisina, and Il Piccolo Marat.

With privileged access to extensive primary sources, including Mascagni's 4,200 letters to Anna Lolli, his mistress for more than three decades, author Alan Mallach provides a compelling portrait of a flamboyant, combative, and emotional man who was passionately devoted to the Italian opera tradition and committed to innovation in musical language and dramatic form.

Deftly combining serious biography with critical commentary, Mallach begins with the captivating story of Mascagni's rags-to-riches adventure, from his birth in Livorno in Tuscany, to his musical studies first with Alfredo Soffredini and later at the Milan Conservatory, to his years as a vagabond musician, to the worldwide success of his breakthrough opera. He then traces Mascagni's private and professional life after Cavalleria, examining a prolific yet controversial career that was forever overshadowed by the work that unexpectedly thrust him into the limelight.

Mallach provides a full analysis of Mascagni's oeuvre and discusses his complex relationships with such Italian cultural and political figures as Edoardo Sonzogno, Giacomo Puccini, Gabriele D'Annunzio, Luigi Illica, and Benito Mussolini. He also thoroughly chronicles Mascagni's bouts with manic depression, his marriage to Lina and devotion to their three children, his grueling schedule of concert and operatic tours, his patriotism and bitter opposition to Italy's involvement in both world wars, and his passionate love affair with Anna Lolli.

This richly textured biography will appeal to fans of the still beloved and popular Cavalleria, and it will introduce opera enthusiasts to the power, intensity, and melodic beauty of the brilliant composer's many other significant works.
  

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Pietro Mascagni and His Operas

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Opera scholar Mallach fills a gap in the musical literature with this welcome discourse on Italian composer Pietro Mascagni (1863-1945), now chiefly remembered for his 1890 opera Cavalleria ... Read full review

Contents

Becoming a Composer 18631882
3
Student Wandering Musician and Guglielmo Ratcliff 18821887
19
Fame Fortune and LAmico Fritz 18901892
71
LeMaschm and the Pesaro Disaster 18991902
129
haheau Gabriele DAnnunzio and Parisina 19111914
211
War Social Strife and II Piccolo Marat 19171921
229
Nerone and the Last Years 19331945
269
First Performances of Pietro Mascagnis Operas
289
Bibliography
355
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About the author (2002)

Alan Mallach is a pianist, composer, and independent scholar. He has written numerous articles and commentaries on opera for such publications as Opera Quarterly and Nuova Rivista Musical Italiana. He lives in Roosevelt, New Jersey.

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