Personalities | Gian Carlo Menotti | Modern Era | Classical

(Jan Kär’-lo Me-nôt’-te) 1911–2007
Italian-American composer

The best of Menotti’s stage works combine something of the melodic appeal of Puccini and his successors with a dramatic punch that is Menotti’s own, but owes something to the American musical. His macabre The Medium (1946) and the chilling The Consul (1950), about refugees attempting to escape an unnamed country, have both enjoyed many performances worldwide, while his one-act comedies Amelia Goes to the Ball (1937) and The Telephone (1947) demonstrate an elegant gift for humour. His Christmas parable Amahl and the Night Visitors (1951) was shown on American television annually for many years. His later operas have been criticized as melodramatic and musically thin, but his best tunes are obstinately memorable. For many years he lived with his fellow composer Barber, for whose opera Vanessa (1957) he wrote the libretto.

Recommended Recording:
The Consul, soloists, Spoleto Festival Orchestra (cond) Richard Hickox (Chandos)

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