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Campanini, Cleofonte

Campanini, Cleofonte

Campanini, Cleofonte, eminent Italian–American conductor, brother of Italo Campanini; b. Parma, Sept. 1, 1860; d. Chicago, Dec. 19, 1919. He studied violin at the Parma Cons, and later at the Milan Cons., making his conducting debut with Carmen at Parma (1882). He conducted the first American performance of Otello at the N.Y. Academy of Music (April 16, 1888) while his brother, Italo, was impresario. Between 1888 and 1906, he conducted in Italy, in England, and in South America. A larger field opened to him in 1906, when Hammerstein engaged him for the new Manhattan Opera House in N.Y. Differences with Hammerstein led him to resign in 1909. In the following year he was engaged as principal conductor of the newly formed Chicago Opera Co.; in 1913 he was appointed general director, which post he held until his death. Among opera conductors he occupied a place in the first rank; he seemed to be equally at home in all styles of music. He introduced many new operas in the U.S., among them Massenet’s Hérodiade, Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, Charpentiers Louise, Wolf–Ferrari’s segreto di Susanna, et al. On May 15, 1887, he married, in Florence, Eva Tetrazzini (sister of Luisa Tetrazzini).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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