Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Born Today January 31: Felice Romani


Famed Italian poet and librettist Romani, was born on this date to a bourgeois (in the original sense of the word) family in the then independent Republic of Genoa.  His birth name was Guiseppe Felice Romani.  He studied both law and literature at Pisa and Genoa.  His studies lead him to become an expert on French literature, which would figure largely in his future work as an opera librettist for famed Italian composers like Bellini and Donisetti, amongst many others.  After turning down a position at the University of Genoa, he chose instead to travel extensively in Europe, returning to Milan in either 1812 or 1813.  There he made friends in both the worlds of literature and music.  After he turned down the role of court poet in Vienna and embarked instead on a career as librettist.  This eventually lead to an appointment of librettist for the famed La Scala.  He would go on to be one of the highest regarded opera librettist of his age; a reputation that continues to this day.  In addition to writing lyrics for operas and poetry, he also prepared a six volume history of mythology and antiquities, focusing on the history of Celts in Italy. In 1834 he additionally became the editor of a newspaper, to which he contributed literary criticism.  Of all musical compositional works that actually lent themselves to silent film treatment, the opera is the most accessible.  In 1909 short Italian film was made using Romani's work, entitled L'elisir d'amore: 'Una furtive lacrima'.  His work would not be used in film again until 1941.  His libretto's have been used in filmed performance many times since then; with most of them coming after the year 2000.  The most recent came in 2014 with the filming of the San Francisco Opera's co-production of Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi, a re-telling of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.  Romani died on the 28th of January in 1865, just three days shy of his 77th birthday.  He is buried in the Cimitero Monumentale di Staglieno, in Genoa, Liguria--which by the time of his death had become a formal part of Italy.

His Page @ The Royal Opera House

Leave Virtual Flowers @ Find A Grave

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