Leoncavallo, the Earthquake, and Pope Pius X

Posted August 13, 2019 2:23 pm by Massimo Scapin

Leoncavallo, the Earthquake, and Pope Pius X

A century ago, on August 9 in Montecatini Terme, just southwest of Pistoia in north central Italy, Ruggero Leoncavallo, Neapolitan opera composer, died. His fame is linked to Pagliacci (“Clowns”), a two-act opera of 1892, which, together with Cavalleria rusticana (“Rustic Chivalry,” 1890) by Pietro Mascagni, is the most explosive reaction against Richard Wagner and against Romantic Italian opera. Both operas belong to the verismo genre, with its emphasis on stark reality. In it, as the prologue at the beginning of Pagliacci outside the curtain states:
Our author has endeavored, rather,
to paint for you a slice of life,
his only maxim being

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