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Mercadante, (Giuseppe) Saverio (Raffaele)

Mercadante, (Giuseppe) Saverio (Raffaele) (b Altamura, 1795; d Naples, 1870). It. composer. Early works were instr. and choral, but turned to opera in 1819 and wrote nearly 60 up to 1856. With Il giuramento (1837), he threw off the Rossinian idiom of his earlier works and developed greater dramatic power in the orch. in the style of Meyerbeer, but his works have failed to hold the stage except for occasional perfs. in Italy and in concert versions in Vienna. Choirmaster, Novara Cath., 1833. Dir., Naples Cons., 1840–70. Wrote 17 masses, orch. fantasies, songs, etc. Operas incl. Maria Stuarda (1821); Elisa e Claudio (1821); Amleto (1822); Don Chisciotte (1829); Francesca da Rimini (1830–1); I briganti (1836); Il bravo (1839); La Vestale (1840); Violetta (1853). Blind from 1862.

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Altamura

Altamura (äl´tämōō´rä), city (1991 pop. 57,874), Apulia, S Italy. It is a commercial and agricultural center. The imposing Romanesque cathedral, with twin campaniles, was begun by Emperor Frederick II in 1232.

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Mercadante, (Giuseppe) Saverio (Raffaele)

Mercadante, (Giuseppe) Saverio (Raffaele)

Mercadante, (Giuseppe) Saverio (Raffaele), important Italian composer and teacher; b. Altamura, near Bari (baptized), Sept. 17, 1795; d. Naples, Dec. 17, 1870. He was born out of wedlock, and was taken to Naples when he was about 11. In 1808 he was enrolled in the Collegio di San Sebastiano. He had no means to pay for his tuition; besides, he was over the age limit for entrance, and was not a Neapolitan. To gain admission he had to change his first Christian name and adjust his place and date of birth. He studied solfeggio, violin, and flute; also took classes in figured bass and harmony with Furno and counterpoint with Tritto; subsequently studied composition with the Collegio’s director, Zingarelli (1816–20). He began to compose while still a student. In 1818 he composed 3 ballets, and the success of the 3rd, II flauto incantato, encouraged him to try his hand at an opera. His first opera, L’apoteosi d’Ercole, had a successful premiere in Naples on Jan. 4, 1819. He wrote 5 more operas before Elisa e Claudio, produced at La Scala in Milan on Oct. 30, 1821, which established his reputation. Other important operas were Caritea, regina di Spagna (Venice, Feb. 21, 1826), Gabriella di Vergy (Lisbon, Aug. 8, 1828), I Normanni a Parigi (Turin, Feb. 7, 1832), I Briganti (Paris, March 22, 1836), II giuramento (Milan, March 10, 1837; considered his masterpiece), Le due illustri rivali (Venice, March 10, 1838), Elena da Feltre (Naples, Dec. 26, 1838), II Bravo (Milan, March 9, 1839), La Vestale (Naples, March 10, 1840; one of his finest), II Reggente (Turin, Feb. 2, 1843), Leonora (Naples, Dec. 5, 1844), Orazi e Curiazi (Naples, Nov. 10, 1846; a major success in Italy), and Virginia (Naples, April 7, 1866; his last opera to be perf., although composed as early as 1845; its premiere was delayed for political reasons). Mercadante wrote about 60 operas in all, for different opera houses, often residing in the city where they were produced; thus he lived in Rome, Bologna, and Milan; he also spent some time in Vienna (where he composed 3 operas in 1824) and in Spain and Portugal (1826–31). From 1833 to 1840 he was maestro di cappella at the Cathedral of Novara. About that time he suffered the loss of sight in one eye, and in 1862 he became totally blind. In 1839 Rossini offered him the directorate of the Liceo Musicale in Bologna, but he served in that post only a short time; in 1840 he was named director of the Naples Cons, in succession to his teacher Zingarelli. Mercadante’s operas are no longer in the active repertoire, but they are historically important, and objectively can stand comparison with those of his great compatriots Rossini, Bellini, and Donizetti.

Works

dramatic: opera:L’apoteosi d’Ercole, dramma per musica (Teatro San Carlo, Naples, Jan. 4, 1819); Violenza e costanza, ossia I falsi monetari, dramma giocoso (Teatro Nuovo, Naples, Jan. 19, 1820; also known as II castello dei spiriti); Anacreonte in Samo, dramma per musica (Teatro San Carlo, Naples, Aug. I, 1820); II geloso ravveduto, melodramma buffo (Teatro Valle, Rome, Oct. 1820); Scipione in Cartagine, melodramma serio (Teatro Argentina, Rome, Dec. 26, 1820); Maria Stuarda regina di Scozia [Maria Stuart], dramma serio (Teatro Comunale, Bologna, May 29, 1821); Elisa e Claudio, ossia L’amore protetto dall’amicizia, melodramma semiserio (Teatro alla Scala, Milan, Oct. 30, 1821); Andronico, melodramma tragico (Teatro La Fenice, Venice, Dec. 26, 1821); II posto abbandonato, ossia Adele ed Emerico, melodramma semiserio (Teatro alla Scala, Milan, Sept. 21, 1822); Amieto, melodramma tragico (Teatro alla Scala, Milan, Dec. 26, 1822); Alfonso ed Elisa, melodramma serio (Teatro Nuovo, Mantua, Dec. 26, 1822); Didone abbandonata, dramma per musica (Teatro Regio, Turin, Jan. 18, 1823); Gli sciti, dramma per musica (Teatro San Carlo, Naples, March 18, 1823); Costanzo ed Almeriska, dramma per musica (Teatro San Carlo, Naples, Nov. 22, 1823); Gli Amici di Siracusa, melodramma eroico (Teatro Argentina, Rome, Feb. 7, 1824); Doralice, dramma semiserio (Kärnthnertortheater, Vienna, Sept. 18, 1824); Le nozze di Telemaco ed Antiope, azione lirica (Kärnthnertortheater, Vienna, Nov. 5, 1824; in collaboration with others); II Podestà di Burgos, ossia II Signore del villaggio, melodramma semiserio (Kärnthnertortheater, Vienna, Nov. 20, 1824; 2nd version as II Signore del villaggio, in Neapolitan dialect, Teatro Fondo, Naples, May 28, 1825); Nitocri, melodramma serio (Teatro Regio, Turin, Dec. 26, 1824); Ipermestra, dramma tragico (Teatro San Carlo, Naples, e. 1824); Erode, ossia Marianna, dramma tragico (Teatro La Fenice, Venice, Dec. 27, 1825); Caritea, regina di Spagna [Donna Caritea], ossia La morte di Don Alfonso re di Portogallo, melodramma serio (Teatro La Fenice, Venice, Feb. 21, 1826); Ezio, dramma per musica (Teatro Regio, Turin, Feb. 2, 1827); II montanaro, melodramma comico (Teatro alla Scala, Milan, April 16, 1827); La testa di bronzo, ossia La capanna solitaria, melodramma eroico comico (private theater of Barone di Quintella, Lisbon, Dec. 3, 1827); Adriano in Siria, dramma serio (Sao Carlos, Lisbon, Feb. 24, 1828); Gabriella di Vergy, melodramma serio (Sao Carlos, Lisbon, Aug. 8, 1828); La rappresaglia, opera buffa (Cadiz, Nov. 20?, 1829); Don Chisciotte [alle nozze di Gamaccio], opera buffa (Cadiz, e. 1829); Francesca da Rimini, melodramma (Madrid, c. 1830); Zaira, melodramma tragico (Teatro San Carlo, Naples, Aug. 31, 1831); I Normanni a Parigi, tragedia lirica (Teatro Regio, Turin, Feb. 7, 1832); Ismalia, ossia Amore e morte, melodramma serio fantastico (Teatro alla Scala, Milan, Oct. 27, 1832); II Conte di Essex, melodramma (Teatro alla Scala, Milan, March 10, 1833); Emma d’Antiochia, tragedia lirica (Teatro La Fenice, Venice, March 8, 1834); Uggero il danese, melodramma (Teatro Riccardi, Bergamo, Aug. 11, 1834); La gioventù di Enrico V, melodramma (Teatro alla Scala, Milan, Nov. 25, 1834); I due Figaro, melodramma buffo (1st confirmed perf., Madrid, Jan. 26, 1835); Francesca Donato, ossia Corinto distrutta, melodramma semiserio (Teatro Regio, Turin, Feb. 14, 1835); I Briganti, melodramma (Théâtre-Italien, Paris, March 22, 1836); II giuramento, melodramma (Teatro alla Scala, Milan, March 10, 1837; also known as Amore e dovere); Le due illustri rivali, melodramma (Teatro La Fenice, Venice, March 10, 1838); Elena da Feltre, dramma tragico (Teatro San Carlo, Naples, Dec. 26, 1838); II Bravo [La Veneziana], melodramma (Teatro alla Scala, Milan, March 9, 1839); La Vestale, tragedia lirica (Teatro San Carlo, Naples, March 10, 1840); La Solitaria delle Asturie, ossia La Spagna ricuperata, melodramma (Teatro La Fenice, Venice, March 12, 1840); II proscritto, melodramma (Teatro San Carlo, Naples, Jan. 4, 1842); II Reggente, dramma lirico (Teatro Regio, Turin, Feb. 2, 1843); Leonora, melodramma semiserio (Teatro Nuovo, Naples, Dec. 5, 1844); II Vascello de Gama, melodramma romantico (Teatro San Carlo, Naples, March 6, 1845); Orazi e Curiazi, tragedia lirica (Teatro San Carlo, Naples, Nov. 10, 1846); La Schiava saracena, ovvero II campo di Gerosolima, melodramma tragico (Teatro alla Scala, Milan, Dec. 26, 1848); Medea, tragedia lirica (Teatro San Carlo, Naples, March 1, 1851); Statira, tragedia (Teatro San Carlo, Naples, Jan. 8, 1853); Violetta, melodramma (Teatro Nuovo, Naples, Jan. 10, 1853); Pelagio, tragedia lirica (Teatro San Carlo, Naples, Feb. 12, 1857); Virginia, tragedia lirica (Teatro San Carlo, Naples, April 7, 1866). ballet:II Servo balordo o La disperazione di Gilotto (Teatro San Carlo, Naples, Feb. 1, 1818); II Califfo generoso (Teatro Fondo, Naples, 1818); II flauto incantato o Le convulsioni musicali (Teatro San Carlo, Naples, Nov. 19, 1818; rev. version for Teatro alla Scala, Milan, Jan. 12, 1828); I Portoghesi nelle Indie o La conquista di Malacca (Teatro San Carlo, Naples, May 30, 1819; in collaboration with Gallenberg). orch.: Sinfonias (actually free variations in the form of an overture), fantasias on themes by other composers, marches, etc. chamber: Various pieces. vocal: Much sacred music, including masses, motets, 8 Magnificats, several Salve Reginas, 2 settings of the Tantum ergo, etc.; of particular interest is his Le sette [ultime] parole di Nostro Signore for 2 Sopranos, Tenor, Baritone, Mixed Voices, 2 Violas, Cello, and Double Bass (1838); also his Christus e Miserere for Alto, Tenor, Bass, Chorus a cappella, English Horn, Horn, Bassoon, and Harp (Cons., Naples, March 19, 1856); a number of cantatas and hymns with orch., including a hymn for Garibaldi (Naples, 1861) and another designed for the inauguration of a statue to Rossini (Pesaro, Aug. 21, 1864); songs.

Bibliography

W. Neumann, S. M. (Kassel, 1855); R. Colucci, Biografia di S. M. (Venice, 1867); O. Serena, I musicisti altamurani... in occasione del centenário di S. M. (Altamura, 1895); A. Pomè, Saggio critico sull’opera musicale di S. M. (Turin, 1925); G. de Napoli, La triade melodrammatica altamurana: Giacomo Tritio, Vincenzo Lavigna, S. M. (Milan, 1931); G. Solimene, La patria e i genitori di M. (Naples, 1940); B. Notarnicola, S. M.:Biografia critica (Rome, 1945; 3rd ed., rev, 1951, as S. M. nella gloria e nella luce: Verdi non ha vinto M.); F. Schlitzer, M. e Cammarano (Bari, 1945); A. Sardone, M., le due patrie e “La gran madre Italia” (Naples, 1954); S. Palermo, S. M.:Biografia, epistolario (Fasano, 1985); M. Summa, Bravo M.: Le ragioni di un genio (Fasano, 1995).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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