Falstaff is a comic opera in three acts by the Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi. The libretto was adapted by Arrigo Boito from Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor and scenes from Henry IV, parts 1 and 2; the work premiered on 9 February 1893 at Milan. Verdi wrote Falstaff, the last of his 28 operas, as he was approaching the age of 80, it was his second comedy, his third work based on a Shakespeare play, following Macbeth and Otello. The plot revolves around the thwarted, sometimes farcical, efforts of the fat knight, Sir John Falstaff, to seduce two married women to gain access to their husbands' wealth. Verdi was concerned about working on a new opera at his advanced age, but he yearned to write a comic work and was pleased with Boito's draft libretto, it took the collaborators three years from mid-1889 to complete. Although the prospect of a new opera from Verdi aroused immense interest in Italy and around the world, Falstaff did not prove to be as popular as earlier works in the composer's canon.
After the initial performances in Italy, other European countries and the US, the work was neglected until the conductor Arturo Toscanini insisted on its revival at La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera in New York from the late 1890s into the next century. Some felt that the piece suffered from a lack of the full-blooded melodies of the best of Verdi's previous operas, a view contradicted by Toscanini. Conductors of the generation after Toscanini to champion the work included Herbert von Karajan, Georg Solti and Leonard Bernstein; the work is now part of the regular operatic repertory. Verdi made numerous changes to the music after the first performance, editors have found difficulty in agreeing on a definitive score; the work has subsequently received many studio and live recordings. Singers associated with the title role have included Victor Maurel, Mariano Stabile, Giuseppe Valdengo, Tito Gobbi, Geraint Evans and Bryn Terfel. By 1889 Verdi had been an opera composer for more than fifty years.
He had written 27 operas, of which only one was a comedy, his second work, Un giorno di regno, staged unsuccessfully in 1840. His fellow composer Rossini commented that he admired Verdi but thought him incapable of writing a comedy. Verdi disagreed and said that he longed to write another light-hearted opera, but nobody would give him the chance, he had included moments of comedy in his tragic operas, for example in Un ballo in maschera and La forza del destino. For a comic subject Verdi considered Cervantes's Don Quixote and plays by Goldoni, Molière and Labiche, but found none of them wholly suitable; the singer Victor Maurel sent him a French libretto based on Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. Verdi liked it, but replied that "to deal with it properly you need a Rossini or a Donizetti". Following the success of Otello in 1887 he commented, "After having relentlessly massacred so many heroes and heroines, I have at last the right to laugh a little." He confided his ambition to the librettist of Arrigo Boito.
Boito said nothing at the time, but he secretly began work on a libretto based on The Merry Wives of Windsor with additional material taken from Henry IV, parts 1 and 2. Many composers had set the play to music, with little success, among them Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf, Antonio Salieri, Michael William Balfe and Adolphe Adam; the first version to secure a place in the operatic repertoire was Otto Nicolai's The Merry Wives of Windsor in 1849, but its success was confined to German opera houses. Boito was doubly pleased with The Merry Wives as a plot. Not only was it Shakespearian, it was based in part on Trecento Italian works – Il Pecorone by Ser Giovanni Fiorentino, Boccaccio's Decameron. Boito adopted a deliberately archaic form of Italian to "lead Shakespeare's farce back to its clear Tuscan source", as he put it, he trimmed the plot, halved the number of characters in the play, gave the character of Falstaff more depth by incorporating dozens of passages from Henry IV. Verdi received the draft libretto a few weeks by early July 1889, at a time when his interest had been piqued by reading Shakespeare's play: "Benissimo!
Benissimo!... No one could have done better than you", he wrote back. Like Boito, Verdi revered Shakespeare; the composer did not speak English, but he owned and re-read Shakespeare's plays in Italian translations by Carlo Rusconi and Giulio Carcano, which he kept by his bedside. He had earlier set operatic adaptations of Shakespeare's Macbeth and Othello and had considered King Lear as a subject. Verdi still had doubts, on the next day sent another letter to Boito expressing his concerns, he wrote of "the large number of years" in his age, his health and his ability to complete the project: "if I were not to finish the music?" He said that the project could all be a waste of the younger man's time and distract Boito from completing his own new opera. Yet, as his biographer Mary Jane Phillips-Matz notes, "Verdi could not hide his delight at the idea of writing another opera". On 10 July 1889 he wrote again: Amen. So let's do Falstaff! For now, let's not think of obstacles, of age, of illnesses! I want to keep the deepest secrecy: a word that I underline three times to you that no one must know anything about it!
Anyway, if you are in the mood start to write. Boito's original sketch is lost, but surviving correspondence shows that the finished opera is not different from his first thoughts; the major diffe
I quatro rusteghi
I quatro rusteghi is a comic opera in three acts, music by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari to a libretto by Luigi Sugana and Giuseppe Pizzolato based on Carlo Goldoni's 18th-century play I rusteghi. The opera is written in Venetian dialect, hence "quatro" instead of "quattro"; the opera was first performed as Die vier Grobiane in German at the Hoftheater in Munich on 19 March 1906. Its first performance in Italian was on 2 June 1914 at the Teatro Lirico in Milan under Ettore Panizza; the work was first performed in the United States by the New York City Opera on 19 October 1951 with Laszlo Halasz conducting. Wolf-Ferrari's most successful full-length work, it is still performed; the action takes place in 18th century Venice. Four curmudgeonly husbands vainly attempt to keep their women in order; the women decide to teach their menfolk a lesson by allowing Lunardo's daughter Lucieta to see Filipeto, the son of Maurizio, before their pre-arranged marriage though the men have forbidden this. Notes Sources Anderson, The Complete Dictionary of Opera & Operetta Wings Books, 1993 ISBN 0-517-09156-9 Media related to I quatro rusteghi at Wikimedia Commons I quatro rusteghi: Scores at the International Music Score Library Project Die vier Grobiane libretto I quatro rusteghi libretto
Opera is a form of theatre in which music has a leading role and the parts are taken by singers, but is distinct from musical theater. Such a "work" is a collaboration between a composer and a librettist and incorporates a number of the performing arts, such as acting, scenery and sometimes dance or ballet; the performance is given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble, which since the early 19th century has been led by a conductor. Opera is a key part of the Western classical music tradition. Understood as an sung piece, in contrast to a play with songs, opera has come to include numerous genres, including some that include spoken dialogue such as musical theater, Singspiel and Opéra comique. In traditional number opera, singers employ two styles of singing: recitative, a speech-inflected style and self-contained arias; the 19th century saw the rise of the continuous music drama. Opera originated in Italy at the end of the 16th century and soon spread through the rest of Europe: Heinrich Schütz in Germany, Jean-Baptiste Lully in France, Henry Purcell in England all helped to establish their national traditions in the 17th century.
In the 18th century, Italian opera continued to dominate most of Europe, attracting foreign composers such as George Frideric Handel. Opera seria was the most prestigious form of Italian opera, until Christoph Willibald Gluck reacted against its artificiality with his "reform" operas in the 1760s; the most renowned figure of late 18th-century opera is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who began with opera seria but is most famous for his Italian comic operas The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte, as well as Die Entführung aus dem Serail, The Magic Flute, landmarks in the German tradition. The first third of the 19th century saw the high point of the bel canto style, with Gioachino Rossini, Gaetano Donizetti and Vincenzo Bellini all creating works that are still performed, it saw the advent of Grand Opera typified by the works of Auber and Meyerbeer. The mid-to-late 19th century was a golden age of opera and dominated by Giuseppe Verdi in Italy and Richard Wagner in Germany; the popularity of opera continued through the verismo era in Italy and contemporary French opera through to Giacomo Puccini and Richard Strauss in the early 20th century.
During the 19th century, parallel operatic traditions emerged in central and eastern Europe in Russia and Bohemia. The 20th century saw many experiments with modern styles, such as atonality and serialism and Minimalism. With the rise of recording technology, singers such as Enrico Caruso and Maria Callas became known to much wider audiences that went beyond the circle of opera fans. Since the invention of radio and television, operas were performed on these mediums. Beginning in 2006, a number of major opera houses began to present live high-definition video transmissions of their performances in cinemas all over the world. Since 2009, complete performances are live streamed; the words of an opera are known as the libretto. Some composers, notably Wagner, have written their own libretti. Traditional opera referred to as "number opera", consists of two modes of singing: recitative, the plot-driving passages sung in a style designed to imitate and emphasize the inflections of speech, aria in which the characters express their emotions in a more structured melodic style.
Vocal duets and other ensembles occur, choruses are used to comment on the action. In some forms of opera, such as singspiel, opéra comique and semi-opera, the recitative is replaced by spoken dialogue. Melodic or semi-melodic passages occurring in the midst of, or instead of, are referred to as arioso; the terminology of the various kinds of operatic voices is described in detail below. During both the Baroque and Classical periods, recitative could appear in two basic forms, each of, accompanied by a different instrumental ensemble: secco recitative, sung with a free rhythm dictated by the accent of the words, accompanied only by basso continuo, a harpsichord and a cello. Over the 18th century, arias were accompanied by the orchestra. By the 19th century, accompagnato had gained the upper hand, the orchestra played a much bigger role, Wagner revolutionized opera by abolishing all distinction between aria and recitative in his quest for what Wagner termed "endless melody". Subsequent composers have tended to follow Wagner's example, though some, such as Stravinsky in his The Rake's Progress have bucked the trend.
The changing role of the orchestra in opera is described in more detail below. The Italian word opera means "work", both in the sense of the labour done and the result produced; the Italian word derives from the Latin opera, a singular noun meaning "work" and the plural of the noun opus. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the Italian word was first used in the sense "composition in which poetry and music are combined" in 1639. Dafne by Jacopo Peri was the earliest composition considered opera, it was writt
Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari was an Italian composer and teacher. He is best known for his comic operas such as Il segreto di Susanna. A number of his works were based on plays by Carlo Goldoni, including Le donne curiose, I quatro rusteghi and Il campiello. Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari was born in Venice in 1876, the son of German painter August Wolf and Emilia Ferrari, from Venice, he added his mother's maiden-name, Ferrari, to his surname in 1895. Although he studied piano from an early age, music was not the primary passion of his young life; as a teenager Wolf-Ferrari wanted to be a painter like his father. It was there that he decided taking lessons from Josef Rheinberger, he began taking counterpoint and composition classes. These casual music classes completely eclipsed his art studies, music took over Wolf-Ferrari's life, he wrote his first works in the 1890s. At age 19, Wolf-Ferrari traveled home to Venice. There he worked as a choral conductor, had a son called Federico Wolf-Ferrari, met both Arrigo Boito and Verdi.
In 1900, having failed to have two previous efforts published, Wolf-Ferrari saw the first performance of one of his operas, based on the story of Cinderella. The opera was a failure in Italy, the humiliated young composer moved back to Munich. German audiences would prove more appreciative of his work. Wolf-Ferrari now began transforming the wild and witty farces of the 18th-century Venetian playwright Carlo Goldoni into comic operas; the resulting works were musically eclectic and utterly hilarious. In fact, until the outbreak of World War I, Wolf-Ferrari's operas were among the most performed in the world. In 1902 he became professor of director of the Liceo Benedetto Marcello. In 1911 Wolf-Ferrari tried his hand at full-blooded Verismo with I gioielli della Madonna, it was quite popular in its day and for a period after in Chicago, where the great Polish soprano Rosa Raisa made it a celebrated vehicle. Maria Jeritza triumphed in it at the Metropolitan Opera, in an all-out spectacular production in 1926.
World War I, was a nightmare for Wolf-Ferrari. The young composer, dividing his time between Munich and Venice found his two countries at war with each other. With the outbreak of the War, he moved to Zurich and composed much less, though he still wrote another comedy, Gli amanti sposi. A new melancholy vein appeared in his post-war work, he did not pick up his rate of output until the 1920s, when he wrote Das Himmelskleid and Sly, the latter based on William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. In 1939 he became professor of composition at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. In 1946 he moved again to Zürich before returning to his home city of Venice, he is buried in the Venetian cemetery Island of San Michele. As well as his operas, Wolf-Ferrari wrote a number of instrumental works at the beginning and end of his career. Only his violin concerto has been performed with anything approaching regularity, though he wrote Idillio-concertino, various pieces of chamber music including a piano quintet and two piano trios, three violin sonatas and a number of works for the organ amongst others.
Wolf-Ferrari's work is not performed widely although he is thought of as the finest writer of Italian comic opera of his time. His works recall the opera buffa of the 18th century, although he wrote more ambitious works in the manner of Pietro Mascagni, which are thought of less well. See List of operas by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari La vita nuova, cantata 1902 4 Rispetti, Op. 11 4 Rispetti, Op. 12 Canzoniere, Op. 17 Serenade for Strings in E flat major Idillio-concertino in A major for Oboe and small orchestra, Op. 15 Suite-concertino in F major for Bassoon and small orchestra, Op. 16 Venezianische Suite in A minor, Op.18 Triptychon op.19 Divertimento in D major op.20 Arabesken für Orchester op.22 Violin Concerto in D, Op. 26 Guila Bustabo in ammirazione Sinfonia Brevis in E flat major op.28 Concertino in A flat major for English horn and small orchestra, Op. 34 String Sextet in C minor Sinfonia da Camera Op. 8 Sonata No.1 for Violin & Piano in G minor, Op.1 Sonata No.2 for Violin & Piano in A minor, Op.10 Sonata No.3 for Violin & Piano in E major, Op.27 Sonata for Cello & Piano in G major, Op.30 String Duo in G minor for Violin & Cello, Op.33b String Duo, "Introduzio mnjkkjkne e Balletto", for Violin & Cello, Op.35 String Trio in B minor for Violin, Viola & Cello, WoO.
String Trio in A minor for Violin, Viola & Cello, Op.32 String Quartet in E minor, Op.23 String Quintet in C major for 2 Violins, 2 Violas & Cello, Op.24 Piano Trio No.1 in D major, Op.5 Piano Trio No.2 in F♯ major, Op.7 Piano Trio "Sonata" for in F major for 2 Violins & Piano, Op.25 Piano Quintet in D♭ major, Op.6 Wolf-Ferrari, Ermanno by John C G Waterhouse
Josef Gabriel Rheinberger was an organist and composer, born in Liechtenstein and resident for most of his life in Germany. Josef Gabriel Rheinberger, whose father was the treasurer for Aloys II, Prince of Liechtenstein, showed exceptional musical talent at an early age; when only seven years old, he was serving as organist of the Vaduz parish church, his first composition was performed the following year. In 1849, he studied with composer Philipp M. Schmutzer in Vorarlberg. In 1851, his father, who had opposed his son's desire to embark on the life of a professional musician and allowed him to enter the Munich Conservatorium. Not long after graduating, he became professor of composition at the same institution; when this first version of the Munich Conservatorium was dissolved, he was appointed répétiteur at the Court Theatre, from which he resigned in 1867. Rheinberger married his former pupil, the poet and socialite Franziska "Fanny" von Hoffnaass in 1867; the couple remained childless. Franziska wrote the texts for much of her husband's vocal work.
The stylistic influences on Rheinberger ranged from contemporaries such as Brahms to composers from earlier times, such as Mendelssohn, Schubert and, above all, Bach. He was an enthusiast for painting and literature. In 1877 he was appointed court conductor, responsible for the music in the royal chapel, he was subsequently awarded an honorary doctorate by Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. A distinguished teacher, he numbered many Americans among his pupils, including Horatio Parker, William Berwald, George Whitefield Chadwick, Bruno Klein and Henry Holden Huss. Other students of his included important figures from Europe: Italian composer Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari, German composers Engelbert Humperdinck and Richard Strauss and the conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler. See: List of music students by teacher: R to S#Josef Rheinberger; when the second Munich Conservatorium was founded, Rheinberger was appointed Royal Professor of organ and composition, a post he held for the rest of his life. On 31 December 1892 his wife died, after suffering a long illness.
Two years poor health led him to give up the post of Court Music Director. Rheinberger was a prolific composer, his religious works include a Requiem and a Stabat Mater. His other works include several operas, chamber music, choral works. Today Rheinberger is challenging organ compositions, his organ sonatas were once declared to be undoubtedly the most valuable addition to organ music since the time of Mendelssohn. They are characterized by a happy blending of the modern Romantic spirit with masterly counterpoint and dignified organ style. Rheinberger died in 1901 in Munich, was buried in the Alter Südfriedhof, his grave was destroyed during World War II, his remains were moved to his home town of Vaduz in 1950. This list only mentions works. Sacred vocal works Cantatas, including the Christmas cantata Der Stern von Bethlehem, Op. 164 14 masses, 3 requiem settings, 2 settings of the Stabat mater Motets, lieder among others, Abendlied after Luke 24,29 Dramatic works 2 operas 3 Singspiele 2 pieces of incidental music Secular choral music Choir ballads Choral pieces with and without accompaniment Works for mixed choir e.g. Waldblumen – eight songs after texts by Franz Alfred Muth Works for female and male choirs 12 lieder for Voice and Piano Orchestral music 2 symphonies 3 overtures Piano concerto in A-flat, Op. 94 3 other concertos for instruments with orchestra Chamber music String quartets, string quintets, piano trios, sonatas for solo instruments and piano e.g. Clarinet Sonata, Op. 105 in A major 4 piano sonatas Works for organ 2 organ concertos 20 organ sonatas 12 Fughettas, Op. 123 12 Monologues, Op. 162 12 Meditations, Op. 167 Preludes, character pieces Works for solo instruments with organ Rheinberger: Missae et Cantiones, Wolfgang Schäfer Choir Director, Edgar Krapp Organ, Klaus Mertens Baritone, Frankfurter Kantorei, Carus-Verlag 1998 Rheinberger: Organ Sonatas Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 11, 12, 16, 17, 19, 20: Bruce Stevens, organ.
"Joseph Gabriel Rheinberger". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton. "Josef Rheinberger". The Musical Times. Internationale Josef Gabriel Rheinberger Gesellschaft –
L'amore medico is an opera in two acts by composer Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari. Based on Moliere's comedy L'Amour médecin, the work uses an Italian language libretto by Enrico Golisciani, it premiered on 4 December 1913 at the Hoftheater in Dresden under the title Der Liebhaber als Arzt. The opera's United States premiere took place on 25 March 1914 at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.'Doctor Cupid: Wolf-Ferrari's Comic Opera Based on a Comedy by Moliere, Punch Opera Music Conducted by Rex Wilder Directed by Nelson Sykes Pianists: Robert Boberg and Barbara Ylvisaker Sung in English by: Anita Beltram, John Miller, Martha Moore Sykes, Milton Gorman, Richard Roussin. 5Wolf-Ferrari: Orchestral Works, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor: Gianandrea Noseda Recording date: 2009 Label: Chandos, 10511 Notes SourcesWaterhouse, John C. G.'Amore medico, L' in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie ISBN 0-333-73432-7
Margherita Carosio was an Italian operatic soprano. Her voice is preserved in many Parlophone and Ultraphon recordings made before World War II, as well as a memorable series made for HMV in London, beginning in 1946, she was still singing leading roles in her early sixties and was considered one of the leading bel canto sopranos of her day. She was died in Genoa. Carosio was born in Genoa, the daughter of a singing teacher and composer, Natale Carosio, who not only supervised her studies but launched her on a career in public concerts at 14, she once said of her father: "Everything I became. I used to say to him:'I am good wool, but you are an extraordinary weaver.'" She appeared in public at the extraordinarily young age of 14. In 1924, still only 16, she made her operatic debut in the taxing role of Lucia di Lammermoor at the Teatro Cavour in Novi Ligure. Soon after, she was recommended by soprano Margherita Sheridan to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, to sing the role of Feodor in Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, with Feodor Chaliapin.
She, like the rest of the company, sang in Italian, Chaliapin sang in Russian, the chorus used French. The death scene was recorded live and Carosio's clear tones can be discerned, she said that working with the great Russian basso made her realise what it meant not just to take on a role but to become it. In 1928, at Covent Garden, the 19-year-old Carosio sang Musetta in La bohème, Feodor, again with Chaliapin, but did not return to London until after the Second World War. On this 1946 London engagement, as a leading star of the visiting San Carlo company of Naples, she sang a peculiarly affecting Violetta in La traviata, she had been much admired by the troops who had seen her in this role in Naples. Elegant, pretty and with a gift of charm mixed with pathos, the madonna-faced Carosio portrayed the demi-mondaine as to the manner born. Still, she appeared with a scratch Italian company in one of her most piquant roles, that of the flighty Adina in Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore, which she had sung at La Scala and recorded for EMI.
Carosio was soon singing all over Italy, in demand for roles requiring her light, coloratura voice - notably Amina in Bellini's La sonnambula, Norina in Donizetti's Don Pasquale, Konstanze in Mozart's Il Seraglio. Oscar in Verdi's Un ballo in maschera was her debut role at La Scala in 1929, followed by an enchanting Philine in Thomas's Mignon, she sang many parts at all to great acclaim. Her particular starring role at this time was Rosina in The Barber of Seville, she essayed more adventurous repertory, including Zerlina in Auber's Fra Diavolo, the Queen of Shemakhan in Rimsky-Korsakov's The Golden Cockerel, Volkhova in his Sadko and the title role of Stravinsky's The Nightingale. She sang Aminta in the first Italian performances of Richard Strauss's Die schweigsame Frau, Egloge in the 1935 world-premiere of Mascagni's Nerone, both at La Scala, where she continued to appear until 1955. Carosio is most remembered today as the singer whose indisposition in January 1949 led to Maria Callas learning and singing the role of Elvira in Bellini's I puritani in five days, while she was performing Brünnhilde in Wagner's Die Walküre at Teatro La Fenice in Venice.
Latterly, she was noted in the more lyrical roles of Violetta. As late as 1954, she returned to La Scala to appear in the house premiere of Menotti's Amelia Goes to the Ball, which she recorded, she had a brief career in Italian films, received an offer from MGM in Hollywood, which she turned down because of her many commitments. But she evinced her popular appeal in recordings of songs of the day. Carosio retired from the operatic stage in 1959 and for the next 40 years pursued a second career as a journalist and music critic in her hometown, where she died in 2005, aged 96; the Last Prima Donnas, by Lanfranco Rasponi, Alfred A Knopf, 1982. La diva che amava i gioielli", by Andrea Lanzola, in "Étude" n° 31, July–August–September 2005