Franco Vittadini

Biography

Born: April 9, 1884   Died: November 30, 1948  
Conductor/composer Franco Vittadini found his strongest voice in opera and sacred music. He began his musical studies in 1903 at the Milan Conservatory, but an unfortunate disagreement with director Giuseppe Gallignani led Vittadini to leave the school prematurely. Luckily, this did not set him back. For a short period he was maestro di cappella and organist in Varese, thereafter spending the rest of his life in Pavia where he was the director of Read more the Istituto Musicale from 1924 until his death.

As a stage composer, Vittadini found his greatest success with Anima allegra (1918 - 1919), performed abroad as well as in Italy. Stylistically very traditional, this opera employs refined orchestration and harmony as well as vivid pictorial and atmospheric effects, from Spanish regional color to Puccini-esque tenderness. His ballet Vecchia Milano (1928) was also very successful, memorable for its well-crafted and central ballet within a ballet scene. Vittadini considered his opera Caracciolo (1938) to be his finest work, but its grandiose, tragic style did not come off as natural as the gentle, charmingly sentimental style of his opera Fiammetta e l'avaro (1942 - 1951).

Vittadini received attention outside the theater for his religious works. His numerous motets and masses are mostly simple in style, revealing his respect for Perosi, yet they also contain some original harmonic subtleties that set Vittadini's works apart from those of his role model. The touching oratorio L'agonia del Redentore (1933) shows Vittadini's church style at its best. In all, however, his musical language remained decidedly conservative in both stage and church music, which is perhaps why his works did not garner enough attention to lead to truly lasting fame. Read less

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