At Italy On This Day you will read about events and festivals, about important moments in history, and about the people who have made Italy the country it is today, and where they came from. Italy is a country rich in art and music, fashion and design, food and wine, sporting achievement and political diversity. Italy On This Day provides fascinating insights to help you enjoy it all the more.

12 November 2015

Umberto Giordano - opera composer

Death of the musician who gave us Andrea Chenier

Composer Umberto Giordano died on this day in 1948 in Milan at the age of 81.

He is perhaps best remembered for his opera, Andrea Chenier, a dramatic work about liberty and love during the French revolution, which was based on the real life story of the romantic French poet, André Chenier.

The premiere of the opera was held at Teatro alla Scala in Milan in 1896. At the time, its success propelled Giordano into the front rank of up and coming Italian composers alongside Mascagni, who he is often compared to, and Puccini.

La Scala in Milan where the first performance
of Andrea Chenier was given
Another of Giordano’s works widely acclaimed by both the public and the critics, is the opera, Feodora.

This had its premiere in 1898 at the Teatro Lirico in Milan. A rising young tenor, Enrico Caruso, played the role of Feodora’s lover, Loris. The opera was a big success and is still performed today.

Some of Giordano’s later works are less well-known but they have achieved the respect of the critics and music experts and are occasionally revived by opera companies.

The theatre in Piazza Cesare Battisti in Foggia, the town where Giordano was born, has been renamed Teatro Giordano in his memory. There is also a large statue of the composer in Piazza Umberto Giordano in Foggia.

Travel tip:

Opera lovers should visit Teatro alla Scala in Milan and go round the theatre’s museum to see the fantastic costumes and memorabilia from the history of opera on display. The museum in Largo Ghiringhelli, just off Piazza Scala, is open every day except the Italian Bank Holidays and certain days in December. Opening hours are from 9.00 to 12.30 and 1.30 to 5.30 pm.

Travel tip:

Foggia, where Umberto Giordano was born in 1867, is an important city in Puglia in the south of Italy. As well as the Teatro Giordano and Piazza Umberto Giordano, which honour the composer, Foggia has a Cathedral dating back to the 12th century well worth visiting.

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