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Giuseppe Saverio Raffaele Mercadante (16 September 1795 - 17 December 1870) was an Italianmarker composer, particularly of operas.

Biography

While Mercadante never attained the international celebrity of Gaetano Donizetti or Gioacchino Rossini, he composed as impressive a number of works as either, and it was he more than they who developed the operatic structures, melodic types and orchestral techniques that provided Giuseppe Verdi with the foundations upon which he built his art.

Early years

Born in Altamuramarker, near Barimarker (Apulia), Mercadante studied flute, violin and composition at the conservatory in Naplesmarker, and organized concerts among his compatriots Opera composer Gioacchino Rossini said to the conservatory Director, Niccolo Zingarelli, "My compliments Maestro - your young pupil Mercadante begins where we finish". In 1817 he was made conductor of the college orchestra, composing a number of symphonies, and concertos for various instruments - including six for flute about 1818-1819, and whose autograph scores are in the Naples conservatory, where they were presumably first performed with him as soloist.

The encouragement of Rossini led him to compose for the opera, where he won considerable success with his second such work (Violenza e Constanza), in 1820. His next three operas are more or less forgotten, but an abridged recording of Maria Stuarda, Regina di Scozia was issued by Opera Rara in 2006. His next opera Elisa e Claudio was a huge success, and had occasional revivals in the 20th century.

He worked for a time in Viennamarker, in Madridmarker, in Cadizmarker, and in Lisbonmarker, but re-established himself in Italy in 1831. He was invited by Rossini to Paris in 1836, where he composed I Briganti for four of the most-known singers of the time, Giulia Grisi, Giovanni Battista Rubini, Antonio Tamburini and Luigi Lablache, all of whom worked closely with Bellini. While there, he had the opportunity to hear operas by Meyerbeer and Halevy which imparted a strong influence on him, especially the latter's La Juive. This influence took the form of greater stress on the dramatic side.

Return to Italy, 1837

The beginnings of the so-called "reform movement", of which Mercadante was part, arose from the publication of a manfesto by Giuseppe Mazzini which he wrote in 1836, the Filosofia della musica..

After Mercadante returned to Italy in 1837, he composed some of his most important works. These included Il giuramento which was premiered at La Scalamarker in November 1837. One striking and innovative characteristic of this opera has been noted:

Early in following year, while composing Elena da Feltre (which premiered in January 1839), Mercadante wrote to Francesco Florimo laying out his ideas about how opera should be structured, following the "revolution" begun in his previous opera: "I have continued the revolution I began in Il giuramento: varied forms, cabalettas banished, crescendos out, vocal lines simplified, fewer repeats, more originality in the cadances, proper regard paid to the drama, orchestration rich but not so as to swamp the voices, no long solos in the ensembles (they only force the other parts to stand idle to the detriment of the action), not much brass drum, and a lot less brass band". Elena da Feltre followed; one critic found much to praise in it:

These temporarily put him in the forefront of composers then active in Italy, although he was soon passed by Giovanni Pacini with Saffò and Giuseppe Verdi with several operas, especially Ernani.

Later works

Some of Mercadante's later works, especially Orazi e Curiazi, were also quite successful. Many performances of his operas were given throughout the 19th century and it has been noted that some of them received far more than those of Verdi's early operas over the same period of time .

He generated more instrumental works through his life than most of his contemporaries due his lifelong preoccupation with the orchestral scores, and, from 1840, being the Director of the Naples conservatory for the last 30 years of his life. From 1863 he was almost totally blind.

In the decades after his death in Naples in 1870, his output was largely forgotten, but it has been occasionally revived and recorded since World War II, although it has yet to achieve anything like the present-day popularity of the most famous compositions by his slightly younger contemporaries Donizetti and Bellini.

French soloist Jean-Pierre Rampal notably recorded several Mercadante concertos for flute and string orchestra, including the grand and romantic E minor concerto which has since gained some popularity among concert flautists.

Operas

  • L'apoteosi d'Ercole (19 August 1819, Teatro S. Carlo, Naples)
  • Violenza e costanza, ossia I falsi monetari (19 January 1820, Teatro Nuovo, Naples) [also as: Il castello dei spiriti (1825, Lisbon)]
  • Anacreonte in Samo (1 January 1820, Teatro S. Carlo, Naples)
  • Il geloso ravveduto (October 1820, Teatro Valle, Rome)
  • Scipione in Cartagine (26 December 1820, Teatro Argentina, Rome)
  • Maria Stuarda regina di Scozia (29 May 1821, Teatro Comunale, Bologna)
  • Elisa e Claudio, ossia L'amore protetto dall'amicizia (30 October 1821, Teatro alla Scala, Milan)
  • Andronico (26 December 1821, Teatro La Fenice, Venice)
  • Il posto abbandonato, ossia Adele ed Emerico (21 September 1822, Teatro alla Scala, Milan)
  • Amleto (26 December 1822, Teatro alla Scala, Milan)
  • Alfonso ed Elisa (26 December 1822, Teatro Nuovo, Mantua) [rev. as: Aminta ed Argira (1823, Reggio Emilia)]
  • Didone abbandonata (18 January 1823, Teatro Regio, Turin)
  • Gli sciti (18 March 1823, Teatro S. Carlo, Naples)
  • Costanzo ed Almeriska (22 November 1823, Teatro S. Carlo, Naples)
  • Gli amici di Siracusa (7.2.1824 Teatro Argentina, Rome)
  • Doralice (18.9.1824 Karntnertortheater, Wien)
  • Le nozze di Telemaco ed Antiope (5 November 1824, Karntnertortheater, Wien) [pasticcio]
  • Il podestà di Burgos, ossia Il signore del villaggio (20 November 1824, Karntnertortheater, Wien)
  • Nitocri (26.12.1824 Teatro Regio, Turin)
  • Ipermestra (29 December 1825, Teatro S. Carlo, Naples)
  • Erode, ossia Marianna (12 December 1825, Teatro La Fenice, Venice)
  • Caritea, regina di Spagna (Donna Caritea), ossia La morte di Don Alfonso re di Portogallo (21 February 1826 Teatro La Fenice, Venice)
  • Ezio (3 February 1827, Teatro Regio, Turin)
  • Il montanaro (16 April 1827, Teatro alla Scala, Milan)
  • La testa di bronzo, ossia La capanna solitaria (3 December 1827, priv. theatre of Barone di Quintella at Laranjeiras, Lisbon) [libretto written 1816 for Soliva]
  • Adriano in Siria (24 February 1828, Theatre S. Carlos, Lisbon)
  • Gabriella di Vergy (8 August 1828, Theatre S. Carlos, Lisbon) [rev: 1832, Genoa]
  • La rappresaglia (21 February 1829, Teatro Principal, Cadiz)
  • Don Chisciotte alle nozze di Gamaccio (10 February 1830, Teatro Principal, Cadiz)
  • Francesca da Rimini (1831, probably unperformed)
  • Zaïra (31 August 1831, Teatro S. Carlo, Naples) [libretto written 1829 for Bellini]
  • I normanni a Parigi (7 February 1832, Teatro Regio, Turin)
  • Ismalia, ossia Amore e morte (27 October 1832, Teatro alla Scala, Milan)
  • Il conte di Essex (10 March 1833, Teatro alla Scala, Milan)
  • Emma d'Antiochia (8 March 1834, Teatro La Fenice, Venice)
  • Uggero il danese (11 August 1834, Teatro Riccardi, Bergamo)
  • La gioventù di Enrico V (25 November 1834, Teatro alla Scala, Milan)
  • I due Figaro (26 January 1835, Teatro Principe, Madrid) [composed 1827-29]
  • Francesca Donato, ossia Corinto distrutta (14 February 1835, Teatro Regio, Turin) [rev.1845, Teatro S. Carlo, Naples]
  • I briganti (22 March 1836, Théâtre Italien, Paris) [rev. with additions 1853]
  • Il giuramento (3 Nov 1837, Teatro alla Scala, Milan)
  • Le due illustri rivali (3 October 1838, Teatro La Fenice, Venice)
  • Elena da Feltre (1 January 1839, Teatro S. Carlo, Naples)
  • Il bravo (La veneziana) (9 March 1839, Teatro alla Scala, Milan)
  • La vestale (10 March 1840, Teatro S. Carlo, Naples)
  • La solitaria delle Asturie, ossia La Spagna ricuperata (12 March 1840, Teatro La Fenice, Venice)
  • Il proscritto (4 January 1842, Teatro S. Carlo, Naples)
  • Il reggente (2 February 1843, Teatro Regio, Turin) [rev. with adds. 11 November 1843, Trieste]
  • Leonora (5 December 1844, Teatro Nuovo, Naples)
  • Il Vascello de Gama (6 March 1845, Teatro S. Carlo, Naples)
  • Orazi e Curiazi (10 November 1846, Teatro S. Carlo, Naples)
  • La schiava saracena, ovvero Il campo di Gerosolima (26 December 1848, Teatro alla Scala, Milan) [rev. 1850 Teatro S. Carlo, Naples]
  • Medea (3 January 1851, Teatro S. Carlo, Naples)
  • Statira (8 January 1853, Teatro S. Carlo, Naples)
  • Violetta (10 January 1853, Teatro Nuovo, Naples)
  • Pelagio (12 February 1857, Teatro S. Carlo, Naples)
  • Virginia (7 April 1866, Teatro S. Carlo, Naples) [composed December 1849 - March 1850]
  • L'orfano di Brono, ossia Caterina dei Medici [only 1st act]


See also



References

Sources

  • Bryan, Karen M., "Mercadante's Experiment in Form: The cabalettas of Elena da Feltre", Donizetti Society Journal 6, London, 1988
  • De Napoli, Giuseppe, La triade melodrammatica altamurana: Giacomo Tritto, Vincenzo Lavigna, Saverio Mercadante, Milan, 1952
  • Kaufman, Thomas G., "Mercadante", in the International Dictionary of Opera, vol. 2 pp. 858–861, 1993
  • Kaufman, Thomas G., "Catalogue of the Operas of Mercadante-Chronology of Performances with Casts", Bollettino dell Associazione Civica "Saverio Mercadante" N. 1; Altamura, 1996
  • Kaufman, Thomas G., "Mercadante and Verdi", The Opera Quarterly, vol. 13, No. 3, June 1997
  • Notarnicola, Biagio, Verdi non ha vinto Mercadante, Rome, 1955
  • Palermo, Santo, Saverio Mercadante: biografia, epistolario, Fasano, 1985
  • Petrucci, Gianluca and Giacinto Moramarco. Saggi su Saverio Mercadante, Cassano Murge, 1992
  • Petrucci, Gianluca, Saverio Mercadante l'ultimo dei cinque re, Rome, 1995
  • Rose, Michael, "Mercadante: Essay", in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, vol. 3, pp. 334–339, 1993
  • Summa, Matteo, Bravo Mercadante, Fasano, 1985


External links




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