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Francesco Cilea

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Biography

Francesco Cilea (July 26, 1866 – November 20, 1950) was an Italian opera composer.

Born in Palmi near Reggio Calabria, Francesco Cilea gave early indication of an aptitude for music when at the age of four he heard a performance of Bellini’s Norma and was greatly affected by it. He was sent to study music at the Conservatorio San Pietro a Maiella in Naples, where he quickly demonstrated his diligence and precocious talent, earning a gold medal from the Ministero della Pubblica Istruzione (Department of education).

At the end of his course of study at the Conservatorio San Pietro a Maiella in 1889, for his final examination he offered his opera Gina, which had a libretto by Enrico Golisciani, adapted from an old French play, Catherine, ou La Croix d’or by Baron Anne-Honoré-Joseph Duveyrier de Mélésville (1787—1865). This melodramma idilico was successfully performed in the college theatre, and it attracted the notice of the publishers Sonzogno, who arranged for a second production, at Florence, in 1892.

Sonzogno also then commissioned from Cilea La Tilda, a verismo opera in three short acts along the lines of Cavalleria Rusticana. With a libretto by Angelo Zanardini, La Tilda had a successful first performance in April 1892 at the Teatro Pagliano in Florence, and after performances in a number of Italian theatres, it arrived at the Vienna Exhibition on 24 September 1892, alongside other works from the firm of Sonzogno. The composer never showed much sympathy for this work, whose subject he reluctantly agreed to set to music in order to please Sonzogno and to avoid throwing away a rare professional opportunity.

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  • TheDarthsala

    Underrated.

    20 Dec 2012 Reply
  • apswartz

    Is it possible to merge or redirect pages (like Wikipedia) so that Francesco Cilèa and Francesco Cilea go to the same page?

    28 Jan 2009 Reply

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