Franco Alfano (March 8, 1875 – October 27, 1954) was an Italian composer and pianist best known for completing Puccini's unfinished opera Turandot in 1926.
He was born in Posillipo, near Naples. Until recent times, musical histories usually gave the year of Alfano's birth, incorrectly, as 1876. He attended piano privately under Alessandro Longo (1864-1946), and harmony and composition respectively under Camillo de Nardis (1857-1951) and aulo Serrao (1830-1907) at the conservatory San Pietro a Majella in Naples. Later, after graduating, he pursued further composition studies with Hans Sitt (1850-1922) and Salomon Jadassohn (1831-1902) in Leipzig. While working there he met his idol, Edvard Grieg, and wrote numerous piano and orchestral pieces. He completed his first opera, Miranda, still unpublished, for which he also wrote the libretto after a novel by Antonio Fogazzaro, in 1896. His work La Fonte Di Enschir (libretto by Luigi Ilca) was refused by Ricordi but was shown in Wrocław (then Breslau) as Die Quelle von Enschir on 8 November 1898, enjoying some success.
The following three operas are usually considered as his most important:
* Risurrezione, 1904, based on Tolstoy. It was later also sung by Magda Olivero.
* Cyrano de Bergerac, after the famous play by Edmond Rostand and composed to the French libretto by Henri Cain. It had its Italian version premiere in Rome in January 1936, and its French version premiere in Paris four months later. It was recently revived by the Metropolitan Opera, New York, starring Plácido Domingo in the title role.
* La leggenda di Sakùntala, 1921, presented revised in 1952 as Sakùntala, after Abhijñānaśākuntalam (The Recognition of Sakuntala), the Sanskrit play by Kalidasa.
From 1918 he was Director of the Conservatory of Bologna, and he directed the Turin Conservatory from 1923. Alfano died in San Remo.
Jennifer Alfano is his great granddaughter.
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