Umberto Giordano

Biography

Born: August 28, 1867; Foggia, Italy   Died: November 12, 1948; Milan, Italy  
Umberto Giordano was born the son of a pharmacist who was against his son pursuing a career in music; the budding composer therefore learned the beginnings of his craft surreptitiously from Gaetano Briganti, a local maker of mechanical instruments. In 1880, Giordano's father finally lifted his objections, and Giordano entered the Naples Conservatory, where he studied somewhat irregularly until 1890. When Giordano was unable to attend at the Read more Conservatory, he worked as a stagehand at the Teatro Dauno in Foggia.

In 1889 Giordano entered the Sonzogno Competition with his first one-act opera, Marina, which he had composed on a libretto purchased for only 25 lire. Marina placed sixth in the competition, and it earned the composer an invitation to play the score for the publisher Sonzogno personally -- a compositional audition. When Giordano had finished playing the work, Sonzogno told him "I will not publish this opera, as I do not like the libretto. But I will engage you in a contract for a new work."

The agreement resulted in Mala vita, perhaps the grimmest verismo opera attempted to that point on the Italian stage. It was well received, especially in German-speaking countries, but a riot broke out at the work's premiere in Naples. In 1902, Giordano softened the dramatic edges of Mala vita and restaged it successfully in Naples as Il Voto.

Giordano's second opera, Regina di Diaz, was a certifiable flop, and Sonzogno threatened Giordano with a severance of contract. However, having unwittingly rescued the composer Pietro Mascagni from a tram accident in early 1896, Giordano was heartily repaid when Mascagni went to Sonzogno to argue on his behalf. This second chance resulted in what has become the composer's most famous work, Andrea Chénier (premiered March 28, 1896). Its libretto, drawn from events of the French Revolution, gave the initial producers pause, since political unrest was then high in Italy, and the work's effect on audiences was uncertain. But the work was greeted with huge enthusiasm, thanks in no small part to tenor Giuseppe Borgatti, who created the role of Andrea. The "Improvisation" and the aria, "La mamma morta," have remained popular excerpts.

The emergence of Giordano's next principal opera, Fedora, coincided with the appearance of yet another unknown tenor, Enrico Caruso; their mutual success gave rise to the saying, "Fedora made Caruso, and Caruso made Fedora." Giordano later claimed he had coached Caruso for the work using a cylinder phonograph to point out flaws in the voice; as Giordano once said, "I made a new Caruso out of him." While Caruso went on to the most brilliant career of any Italian tenor, the opera that "made" him is given to only infrequent revival.

Giordano went on to write more operas, but these did not enter the repertory. Notable among these efforts are: Siberia (1904), a huge, but not lasting success; Madame Sans-Gene (1915), which opened at New York's Metropolitan Opera with Geraldine Farrar in the lead role; Le cena della befe (1924), which marked Giordano's later turn away from the verismo style; and Il re (1929), in which Giordano broke completely with verismo, creating instead a light comedy that remained popular on European stages through the 1930s.

Aside from his operas, Giordano composed a considerable number of orchestral and chamber works, as well as one ballet, L'astro magico (1928). Giordano took a great deal of interest in recording technology, and helped found the Discoteca di Stato in Rome -- the main Italian archive for historical recordings. Umberto Giordano died in Milan at the age of 81. Read less
Giordano: Andrea Chénier / Levine, Domingo, Scotto, Milnes
Release Date: 05/29/2008   Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal  
Catalog: 2046   Number of Discs: 2
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Giordano: Andrea Chenier / Levine, Pavarotti, Guleghina, Pons, Metropolitan Opera
Release Date: 11/01/2011   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 001611109   Number of Discs: 1
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Giordano: Fedora / Patané, Márton, Carreras, Et Al
Release Date: 10/25/1990   Label: Cbs Masterworks  
Catalog: 42181   Number of Discs: 2
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Giordano: Andrea Chenier / Pavarotti, Caballe, Chailly
Release Date: 10/22/1984   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 410117   Number of Discs: 2
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Giordano: Mala Vita / Cavallaro, Graziani, Simeoli, Et Al
Release Date: 02/24/2004   Label: Bongiovanni  
Catalog: 2348   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Fedora: Amor ti vieta

Browse 1-25 of 103 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Opera Gold: 100 Great Tracks
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002503602 Release Date: 06/03/2016   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Marilyn Horne,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Mirella Freni  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Henry Lewis,  Richard Bonynge,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  Wandsworth School Boys' Choir,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 2.
    Decca Sound: 55 Great Vocal Recitals
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002495002 Release Date: 05/20/2016   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Gustave Charpentier,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Jules Massenet,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Suzanne Danco,  Pierre Mollet,  Guido Agosti,  Gervase de Peyer  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede,  Ernest Ansermet,  Karl Böhm,  Rudolf Moralt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $134.49
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  • 3.
    Great Moments at Carnegie Hall
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 503227 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 43
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Roy Harris,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz,  Jussi Björling,  Frederick Schauwecker,  Van Cliburn  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini,  Serge Koussevitzky,  Bruno Walter,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
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  • 4.
    The Age of Puccini / Jonas Kaufmann
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002359802 Release Date: 08/28/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Riccardo Zandonai,  Umberto Giordano,  Francesco Cilèa,  Ruggero Leoncavallo  ... 
    Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann,  Rosa Feola,  Cristina Reale,  Eva-Maria Westbroek  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonio Pappano,  Marco Armiliato
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Milan Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra,  Milan Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Chorus  ... 
    CD: $13.99
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  • 5.
    Tito Schipa  - Songs & Arias 1955-1964
    Label: Vai Audio   Catalog: 1281 Release Date: 01/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Cioffi,  Richard Barthélemy,  Luigi Denza,  Vincenzo Valente  ... 
    Performer:  Tito Schipa,  Alexander Yerokhin,  Carlo Amato
    Conductor:  Muno Campino
    On sale! $16.98
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  • 6.
    Marcelo Alvarez: 20 Years on the Opera Stage
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3472 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Umberto Giordano,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Pietro Mascagni,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Marcelo [Tenor Vocals] Alvarez
    Conductor:  Constantine Orbelian
    CD: $17.99
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  • 7.
    Bravo! Villazon - The Recitals [4-CD Set]
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 623618 Release Date: 10/28/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Jacques Offenbach,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Friedrich von Flotow  ... 
    Performer:  Rolando Villazón,  Florian Laconi,  Theresa Blank
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson,  Marcello Viotti,  Placido Domingo,  Evelino Pidò
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Madrid Community Orchestra,  ORTF Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $26.99
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  • 8.
    Opera - The Ultimate Collection / Andrea Bocelli
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002181302 Release Date: 10/21/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Umberto Giordano,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Andrea Bocelli,  Barbara Frittoli,  Matteo Peirone,  Verónica Villarroel  ... 
    Conductor:  Gianandrea Noseda,  Placido Domingo,  Zubin Mehta,  Marco Armiliato  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra,  Valencia Community Orchestra,  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $15.99
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  • 9.
    Operatic Recitals By Giuseppe Campora & Gianni Poggi
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002177602 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Umberto Giordano,  Arrigo Boito  ... 
    Performer:  Giuseppe Campora,  Gianni Poggi,  Gino Penno,  Giacinto Prandelli
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede,  Antonio Narducci
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Orchestra,  Chorus
    CD: $12.99
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  • 10.
    50 Great Arias / Jonas Kaufmann
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002153502 Release Date: 09/23/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Friedrich von Flotow,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann,  Jana Sibera,  Michael Volle,  Margarete Joswig  ... 
    Conductor:  Marco Armiliato,  Claudio Abbado,  Donald Runnicles,  Antonio Pappano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonic Orchestra,  Mahler Chamber Orchestra,  Parma Teatro Regio Chorus  ... 
    CD: $35.49
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  • 11.
    Most Wanted Recitals - An Operatic Recital By Flaviano Labo
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002066602 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Giacomo Puccini,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Flaviano Labò,  Gianni Raimondi,  Bruno Prevedi
    Conductor:  Fernando Previtali,  Bruno Martinotti,  Edward Downes
    CD: $12.99
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  • 12.
    Franco Corelli - A Perfect (Italian) Tenor
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1315 Release Date: 05/12/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Umberto Giordano,  Pietro Mascagni,  Francesco Cilèa  ... 
    Performer:  Franco Corelli
    Conductor:  Arturo Basile
    CD: $9.99
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  • 13.
    Il Mito Dell'opera / Angelo Loforese
    Label: Bongiovanni   Catalog: 1232 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Gioachino Rossini,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Franco Bordoni,  Elda [Soprano Vocal] Cervo,  Angelo LoForese,  Ada [Mezzo-soprano Vocal] Finelli  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 14.
    The 50 Greatest Tracks / Luciano Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001922802 Release Date: 10/22/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Malcolm King,  Robert Lloyd  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Richard Bonynge,  Edward Downes  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 15.
    Fernando De Lucia - Complete Gramophone Company Recordings 1902-1909
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 54004 Release Date: 09/30/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Francesco Paolo Tosti,  Jules Massenet,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Fernando de Lucia,  Salvatore Cattone,  Antonio Pini-Corsi,  Josefina Huguet  ... 
    Conductor:  Salvatore Sassano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 16.
    The Best of Jonas Kaufmann
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001894302 Release Date: 09/03/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann,  Jana Sibera,  Renée Fleming,  Barbara Vignudelli  ... 
    Conductor:  Marco Armiliato,  Antonio Pappano,  Claudio Abbado,  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonic Orchestra,  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan,  Verdi Chorus Milan  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 17.
    Amore e Tormento / Giordano
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 538007812 Release Date: 06/25/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Francesco Cilèa,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Massimo Giordano
    Conductor:  Carlo Goldstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
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  • 18.
    Singers Of The Century - 40 Greats Of  The 20th Century
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 2078 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Pietro Mascagni,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Ettore Bastianini,  Giuseppe Taddei,  Richard Tucker,  Mario Del Monaco  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 19.
    Be My Love - Tribute To Mario Lanza / 	Joseph Calleja
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001743802 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nicholas Brodszky,  Agustín Lara,  Renato Rascel,  Juventino Rosas  ... 
    Performer:  Joseph Calleja
    Conductor:  Steven Mercurio
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Concert Orchestra,  New London Singers
    CD: $14.99
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  • 20.
    Voices of Italian Opera
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 40509 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Edita Gruberova,  Margherita Carosio,  Francesco Meli  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Kurt Eichhorn,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Evelino Pidò  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Munich Radio Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 21.
    To Rome With Love / Original Soundtrack
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 543828 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Domenico Modugno,  Bruno Pallesi,  Alessandro Giovannini,  Alberto Pestalozza  ... 
    Performer:  Alfredo Messina,  Angelo DiPippo,  Fabio Armiliato,  Jeff Taylor  ... 
    Conductor:  Steven Bernstein,  Eddie Condon,  Carmine Pinto
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Trio Lescano
    CD: $14.99
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  • 22.
    Label: Bongiovanni   Catalog: 1224 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Nicola Martinucci,  Virginia Zeani
    CD: $17.99
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  • 23.
    The Very Best Of Jussi Bjorling
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 6789972 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gioachino Rossini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Amilcare Ponchielli  ... 
    Performer:  Jussi Björling,  Robert Merrill,  Victoria de los Angeles,  Paul Franke  ... 
    Conductor:  Nils Grevillius,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Renato Cellini
    CD: $17.99
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  • 24.
    Arrivederci / Vittorio Grigolo [Deluxe]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 791135 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Friedrich von Flotow,  Francesco Cilèa  ... 
    Performer:  Vittorio Grigolo
    Conductor:  Pier Giorgio Morandi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parma Teatro Regio Orchestra
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  • 25.
    Arrivederci / Vittorio Grigolo
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 791134 Release Date: 09/20/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Friedrich von Flotow,  Francesco Cilèa  ... 
    Performer:  Vittorio Grigolo
    Conductor:  Pier Giorgio Morandi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parma Teatro Regio Orchestra
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