July 15, 2018

Around the Web: Who is Francesco Cilea?

Francesco Cilea in 1910
I have an American friend who, at the mention of Calabria, breaks into song. No, not the popular “Calabria Mia,” written and sung by Mino Reitano, as you might expect, but an opera aria! He croons the work of a Calabrian from a different era and genre, perhaps just as well known in certain circles for his Adriana Lecouvreur as is Reitano for his nostalgic ballad. This Italian opera composer is Francesco Cilea.
Francesco Cilea Biography 
Francesco Cilea (1866-1950) was born in Palmi, a good-sized town on the Tyrrhenian Sea north of Reggio in the Southern Italian region of Calabria. His decision to dedicate himself to music came at a very early age upon hearing a local band’s rendition of the finale from the opera Norma by Vincenzo Bellini. He went on to study at the Naples Conservatory of Music (Conservatorio San Pietro a Majella), and his final project, a short opera entitled Gina (1889), caught the attention of the music publishers Sonzogno, from whom he received his first commission La Tilda, a verismo opera premiered in Florence in 1892. Continue reading