Pietro Mascagni

Pietro Mascagni
7.12.1863 - 2.08.1945
Period:il Verismo


Pietro Mascagni was one of the most prominent Italian opera composers of the 20th century. He got his first formidable success in 1890, due to his masterpiece Cavalleria Rusticana, which was performed in the same year. Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana was later eluded by many of his following works.

Throughout his life, Mascagni wrote approximately 15 successful operas, an operetta, several beautiful orchestral and vocal works, as well as songs and piano music. Mascagni was a talented musician and enjoyed amazing operatic successes during his lifetime.

Mascagni was born in 1863, in Livorno, Tuscany. He was the second son of Domenico and Emilia Mascagni. Mascagni’s father was the owner of a bakery.

Mascagni started his musical studies in 1876 with Alfredo Soffredini, who was the founder of the Instituto Musicale di Livorno, after having just completed his musical studies in Milan. Livorno had also worked as a composer, teacher and musical critic.

Mascagni's approach to opera differed a lot from that of his contemporary opera writers, especially, from rival Puccini. In 1879, Mascagni composed several works for music that includes; Simfonia in do minore, Elegia, Kyrie, Gloria and Ave Maria.

Mascagni performed his first cantata on February 9, 1881, in Filanda, at the Istituto Cherubini. Later Mascagni’s cantata was also presented at a musical contest in Milan and won the first prize. In the same year Mascagni met great composers namely Arrigo Boito and Amilcare Ponchielli in Milan.

In 1882 Mascagni composed his very successful Cantata Alla Gioia from a text by Schiller, La Stella di Garibaldi for voice and piano and Latua Stella. In the same year on 6 May, Mascagni left Livorno for Milan. Later in October 12, 1882, Mascagni took admission in Milan Conservatory.

Here Mascagni met with two famous personalities namely Vittorio Gianfranceschi (an engineer), who was born in Vienna in 1861, and Giacomo Puccini, (a famous composer) who was born in Lucca in 1858.

In 1884 Mascagni Pietro composed Ballata for tenor and piano, M'ama non m'ama, scherzo for soprano and piano, Messagio d'amore and Alla Luna.

In the next year, he composed “Il Re a Napoli in Cremona” on a text by Andrea Maffei. Pietro left Milan without completing his studies. Then he worked as a conductor in the operetta companies of Vittorio Forlì, Alfonso, Ciro Scognamiglio, and Luigi Arnaldo Vassallo.

In 1888 Mascagni Pietro work on the Messa di Gloria started. In 1890 Mascagni was invited to Rome to resent his opera namely Cavalleria rusticana at the Teatro Costanzi. Later this opera became very successful and gained an outstanding fame for the composer; soon it was performed in Florence, Turin, Bologna, Palermo, Milan, Genoa, Naples, Venice and Trieste.

Mascagni's second most successful opera “L'amico Fritz” was premiered on October 31 at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome. Then he composed another opera, namely “I Rantzau”, which was performed on 10th of November at the Teatro La Pergola, in Florence, under the direction of Mascagni. Mascagni's next opera Silvano was performed in 1894.

On January 17, 1901, Mascagni presented his wonderful opera namely “Le maschere” in six Italian theaters. Mascagni also composed the music for Hall Caine's very popular play “The Eternal City” in August 1902. This play was later premièred in London, on 2nd of October of the same year.

In 1902 and 1903 Mascagni toured in Canada and in the United States, where he analyzed many composers' works. In 1909 Mascagni became the director of the Costanzi. Later on, in 1911, he ceased his activity as director of the Scuola Musicale Romana and went to Milan.

In Milan, Mascagni performed another successful opera named “Parisina” on December, 15. At the time of the presentation of Parisina, almost all famous Italian composers like Puccini, Umberto Giordano and Zandonai, were present there.

In 1915 Mascagni wrote music for Nino Oxilia's movie Rapsodia Satanica. This music was composed for silent films that had had to perform live in the theaters. While composing music for Nino Oxilia's movie, Mascagni used musical instruments like, organ, piano and also an orchestra.

In 1920 Mascagni composed his very popular opera, “Il piccolo Marat”, which was premiered in Rome on May 2, 1921, and later in Buenos Aires. Mascagni Pietro returned to South America for a tour started in May 1922. His operetta, named “Mascagni’s Sì”, was performed in Rome. Mascagni Pietro composed Visione Lirica in 1923.

In 1930, Pietro presented La Bohème in Torre Del Lago, as homage to Puccini, who died in 1924. In 1931, Pietro performed his Le maschere was performed at La Scala. Pietro’s other musical works like Pinotta (1932) were premiered in San Remo, and Nerone (1935) was premièred in Milan to be followed by the première in Livorno on August 24.

In 1940, Mascagni Pietro celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of his most popular opera namely “Cavalleria rusticana” in Italy. This wonderful and most successful opera was presented for “La Voce del padrone” at La Scala under the direction of its composer.

Mascagni Pietro went to the Albergo Plaza (a city in Rome) in 1927, where he lived until his death.

In April 1943, Pietro appeared for the last time at La Scala to conduct L'amico Fritz. He died at 7:15 a.m. on August 2, 1945. Mascagni Pietro funeral ceremony was held on 4 August 1945, without supervision of Italian authorities.

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