Personalities | Gian Carlo Menotti | Modern Era | Opera

1911–2007, Italian

One of the most important opera composers during the 1950s, Menotti had already written two operas by the time he entered the Milan Conservatory aged 13, and he would go on to write 23 more. He later moved to America and studied at the Curtis Institute, where he met his lifelong companion and inspiration, Samuel Barber.

Menotti’s music is derived from the Puccini school of verismo, and his theatricality often verges on the melodramatic. His one-act Amelia Goes to the Ball (1937) was performed at the Metropolitan Opera, and other early successes included a Broadway pairing of The Medium (1946) and The Telephone (1947) that ran for 211 performances. His full-length, Pulitzer Prize-winning The Consul (1950) is a compelling drama of people seeking political asylum, while Amahl and the Night Visitors (1951), based on the story of the Three Kings and produced for television, became an instant classic.

By the time The Saint of Bleecker Street (1954) was first performed, Menotti’s work was falling out of favour, and his artistic energies subsequently shifted from composing to working on the establishment of the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy in 1958, as well as its counterpart in Charleston, South Carolina. Nevertheless, in 1986 Menotti wrote Goya for the tenor Plácido Domingo, which was presented by the Washington Opera.

Introduction | Modern Era | Opera
Major Operas | The Consul by Gian Carlo Menotti | Modern Era
Personalities | Olivier Messiaen | Modern Era | Opera
Houses & Companies | The Birth of the Metropolitan Opera | Turn of the Century | Opera
Techniques | Realism, Naturalisme & Verismo | High Romantic | Opera
Techniques | Verismo | Turn of the Century | Opera


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