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

Work: Fedora: Amor ti vieta

Browse 1-25 of 139 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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:  Elda [Soprano (Vocal)] Cervo,  Angelo LoForese,  Franco Bordoni,  Ada Finelli  ... 
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  • 2.
    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,  Kathleen Battle,  Malcolm King  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Richard Bonynge,  Edward Downes  ... 
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  • 3.
    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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  • 4.
    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  ... 
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  • 5.
    Amore E Tormento / Massimo 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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  • 6.
    Franco Corelli: A Discographic Career
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 214 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Pietro Mascagni,  Umberto Giordano,  Francesco Cilèa  ... 
    Performer:  Franco Corelli,  Maria Curtis-Verna,  Piero de Palma,  Maria Callas  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Basile,  Alfredo Simonetto,  Umberto Cattini,  Angelo Questa  ... 
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  • 7.
    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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  • 8.
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 1007092 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Umberto Giordano,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Andrea Bocelli
    On sale! $37.99
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  • 9.
    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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  • 10.
    Voices Of Italian Opera
    Label: Emi 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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  • 11.
    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
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  • 12.
    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
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  • 13.
    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
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  • 14.
    Pavarotti Collection Vol 2
    Label: Bravissimo Opera Library   Catalog: 9913 Release Date: 02/14/2012   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti
    On sale! $33.98
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  • 15.
    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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  • 16.
    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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  • 17.
    Bjorling Sings At Carnegie Hall
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 7858222 Release Date: 09/20/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Richard Strauss,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Jussi Björling,  Frederick Schauwecker
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  • 18.
    Jussi Bjorling - The Complete RCA Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 774892 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Charles Gounod,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giacomo Meyerbeer  ... 
    Performer:  Jussi Björling,  Robert Merrill,  Emil Markow,  Frederick Schauwecker  ... 
    Conductor:  Renato Cellini,  Nils Grevillius,  Jonel Perlea,  Erich Leinsdorf  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Orchestra  ... 
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  • 19.
    Verismo Arias / Jonas Kaufmann, Antonio Pappano, Accademia Nazionale Di Santa Cecilia
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001546302 Release Date: 04/19/2011   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
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
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  • 20.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit: Richard Crooks
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89744 Release Date: 04/12/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Richard Wagner,  Charles Gounod,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Richard [Tenor Vocal] Crooks
    Conductor:  Wilfrid Pelletier,  Nathaniel Shilkret
    On sale! $22.98
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  • 21.
    The Placido Domingo Story [3-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001515302 Release Date: 01/25/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Umberto Giordano,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Monserrat Aparici,  Pedro Di Proenza,  Tatiana Troyanos  ... 
    Conductor:  Nello Santi,  Rafael Kubelik,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Richard Bonynge  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 22.
    Ioan Holender Farewell Concert / Netrebko, Domingo, Quasthoff [2 DVDs]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001491309 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Jacques Offenbach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Nadia Krasteva,  Herwig Pecoraro,  Michaela Selinger  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Antonio Pappano,  Bertrand De Billy,  Franz Welser-Möst  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus
    DVD: $29.99
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  • 23.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit: Gianni Poggi, Vol. 2
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89736 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Umberto Giordano,  Rodolfo Falvo  ... 
    Performer:  Gianni Poggi,  Ebe Ticozzi,  Simona dall' Argine,  Gino del Signore  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede,  Ernesto Nicello,  Franco Capuana
    On sale! $22.98
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  • 24.
    Pavarotti Passion, Vol. 2
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 6002 Release Date: 08/10/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Umberto Giordano,  Friedrich von Flotow  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti
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  • 25.
    50 Best Opera
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 57531 Release Date: 06/29/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss,  Gustave Charpentier  ... 
    Performer:  Cornelius Hauptmann,  Margareta Lilowa,  Carolyn Watkinson,  Ursula Kunz  ... 
    Conductor:  Roger Norrington,  Bernard Haitink,  Rafael Kubelik,  Peter Schneider  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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