Umberto Giordano


Umberto Giordano

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

He was born in Foggia in Puglia, southern Italy, and studied under Paolo Serrao at the Conservatoire of Naples. His first opera "Marina", was written for the competition staged 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 candidate, placed sixth among seventy-three with "Marina", which generated enough interest for Sonzogno to commission an opera to be staged in the 1891-92 season.

The result was "Mala Vita", a gritty "verismo" opera concerning a labourer who vows to reform a prostitute if he is cured of his tuberculosis. This caused something of a scandal when performed at the Teatro Argentina, Rome, in February 1892. It played successfully at Vienna, Prague and Berlin.

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

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. "Fedora" (1898), based on Victorien Sardou's play, featured a scarcely-known young tenor, Enrico Caruso; it was also a success, and is still performed today. His later works are much less known, but occasionally revived.

The most important theater in Foggia has been dedicated to Umberto Giordano, in which "Andrea Chenier" was lately performed. A square in Foggia is also dedicated to him, with many statues representing his more famous works.

Opera works

* "Marina" (1888)
* "Mala Vita" (21.2.1892 Teatro Argentina, Rome)
* "Regina Diaz" (5.3.1894 Teatro Mercadante, Naples)
* "Andrea Chénier" (28.3.1896 Teatro alla Scala, Milan)
* "Fedora" (17.11.1898 Teatro Lirico, Milan)
* "Il Voto" Rev. of Mala Vita (6.9.1902 Teatro Bellini, Naples)
* "Siberia" (19.12.1903 Teatro alla Scala, Milan, rev. 1927)
* "Marcella" (9.11.1907 Teatro Lirico, Milan)
* "Mese mariano" (17.3.1910 Teatro Massimo, Palermo)
* "Madame Sans-Gêne" (25.1.1915 Metropolitan Opera, New York)
* "Giove a Pompei" (6.7.1921 Teatro La Pariola, Rome)
* "La cena delle beffe" (20.12.1924 Teatro alla Scala, Milan)
* "Il Re" (12.1.1929 Teatro alla Scala, Milan)
* "La festa del Nilo" (incomplete)


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