greatly talented Italian composer; b. Lucca, June 19, 1854; d. Milan, Aug. 7, 1893. He studied music with his father, a church organist; in 1872 studied with Fortunato Magi and Bazzini at the Istituto Musicale Pacini in Lucca. He then went to Paris, where he attended classes of Bazin (composition) and Marmontel (piano). He returned to Italy in 1873, and in 1886 he became the successor of Ponchielli as prof. of composition at the Milan Cons. It was in Milan that he became acquainted with Boito, who encouraged him in his composition. He also met young Toscanini, who became a champion of his music. Catalani was determined to create a Wagnerian counterpart in the field of Italian opera, and he selected for his libretti fantastic subjects suitable for dramatic action. After several unsuccessful productions he finally achieved his ideal in his last opera, La Wally; he died of tuberculosis the year after its production.
DRAMATIC: Opera: La Fake (Milan, July 19, 1875); Elda (Turin, Jan. 31, 1880; rev. as Loreley, Turin, Feb. 16, 1890); Dejanice (Milan, March 17, 1883); Edmea (Milan, Feb. 27, 1886); La Wally (Milan, Jan. 20, 1892). orch.:Sinfonia a piena orchestra (1872); II Mattino, romantic sym. (1874); Ero e Leandro, symphonic poem (Milan, May 9, 1885). other: Piano pieces and songs.
D. Pardini, A. C.(Lucca, 1935); A. Bonaccorsi, A. C. (Turin, 1942); C. Gatti, A. C.(Milan, 1953).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire