Drigo, Riccardo, Italian composer and conductor;b. Padua, June 30, 1846; d. there, Oct. 1,1930. He studied
music in Padua and Venice, then conducted opera in Venice and Milan. In 1879 he was engaged to conduct the Italian opera in St. Petersburg; in 1886 became permanent ballet conductor of the Imperial Theater there. He conducted first performances of Tchaikovsky’s ballets The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker. After Tchaikovsky’s death, Drigo ed. the score of the ballet Swan Lake and orchestrated a number of Tchaikovsky’s piano pieces. Drigo’s own ballets, melodious and easy to listen to, also enjoyed excellent success in Russia. Particularly popular was his ballet Les Millions d’Arlequin, which includes the famous Serenade for a soulful cello solo and the ingratiating Valse bluette. Drigo conducted the first performance of this ballet in St. Petersburg on Feb. 10,1900. From 1914 to 1916 he was in Italy, from 1916 to 1920 again in St. Petersburg, finally returning to Italy.
S. Travaglia, R. D., L’uomo e Vartista (Padua, 1929).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire