23 April 1857, Naples – 9 August 1919, Montecatini Terme, Tuscany
Ruggero Giacomo Maria Giuseppe Emmanuele Raffaele Domenico Vincenzo Francesco Donato Leoncavallo was an Italian opera composer and librettist whose fame rests on the opera Pagliacci, which, with Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana (1890), represented a reaction against Richard Wagner and against Romantic Italian opera; both works substituted for the quasi-historical plot a sensational story from everyday life.
For most of his operas Leoncavallo was his own librettist and showed a distinct literary ability and a flair for theatrical effect. Subsequent operas by Leoncavallo were in the 1900s: Zazà (the opera of Geraldine Farrar’s famous 1922 farewell performance at the Metropolitan Opera), and 1904’s Der Roland von Berlin. In 1906 the composer brought singers and orchestral musicians from La Scala to perform concerts of his music in New York, as well as an extensive tour of the United States. The tour was, all in all, a qualified success. He had a brief success with Zingari which premiered in Italian in London in 1912, with a long run at the Hippodrome Theatre. Zingari also reached the United States but soon disappeared from the repertoire.
Ruggero Leoncavallo – Pagliacci Orquestra e Coro Del Teatro Alla Scala, Conductor: Herbert Von Karajan, With: Jon Vickers, Raina Kabaivanska, Peter Glossop, Sergio Lorenzi, Rolando Panerai