Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) Born into an aristocratic family, Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov was educated at a naval college in St. Petersburg and sailed the world as a naval officer. While still a naval officer, he was composing music and was part of a group
Saint-Saëns – like Berlioz, is one of a rare breed – a French composer who does not owe his success to opera. His father was a civil servant who died from consumption when the boy was only a few months old which meant that he was brought up by his mother and his Great-Aunt and it was she who encouraged his musical talent. He was a child prodigy in every sense and soaked up knowledge like a sponge. By the time he was three he had learned to read and write and by the time he was eight he had some mastery of Latin and was well on his way to being a multi-faceted intellectual. He Saint-Saëns – like Berlioz, is one of a rare breed – a French composer who does not owe his success to opera. His father was a civil servant who died from consumption when the boy was only a few months old which meant that he was brought
Puccini’s cowboy opera, La Fanciulla del West, had returned to the Met after an absence of 17 years in 2010. 2010 was the 100th anniversary of the opera’s world premiere at the Met. Emmy Destinn and Enrico Caruso sang the leads under the direction of Arturo Toscanini. Puccini supervised the production which was directed by David Belasco on whose play the libretto was based. Ticket prices were doubled to $10 for the prima, which was sold out. It was a scalper’s dream.
When Verdi wrote his Messa da Requiem he was sixty years old and his reputation as an Opera composer was firmly established. He had nothing to prove. In the order of his compositions, the work falls between ‘Aida’ and ‘Otello’ and it is Verdi’s tribute to Alessandro Manzoni who was one of his heroes and who had died in May 1873 aged 89 years. Manzoni, a poet, novelist and author had been revered throughout Italy as one of the outstanding figures of the ‘risorgimento’.