Amilcare Ponchielli

Biography

Born: August 31, 1834; Paderno Fasolaro, Italy   Died: January 17, 1886; Milan, Italy  
Amilcare Ponchielli was an important nineteenth century Italian composer, primarily of operas. He is best known for his 1876 La Gioconda, though he wrote other significant operas, as well as ballets, orchestral, chamber music, and various vocal works. He was a rare example of a meek, but immensely talented, artist, whose backward nature sabotaged his career in certain respects. He had a vivid imagination, an uncanny ability to express varied Read more situations and emotions, and superior orchestrational skills. If he had a weakness in his artistic makeup, it was his inconsistency of inspiration. In the end, he must be ranked a truly gifted composer who might have achieved the front rank were it not for his humble and kind demeanor, and lack of personal ambition. Actually, only Verdi stood above him among Italian composers of the day, but considerably above him. Other works of significance in Ponchielli's ?uvre are I promessi sposi, his first opera, and Marion Delorme, his last. He was also an important teacher, his students included Puccini and Mascagni.

Ponchielli was born in Paderno Fasolaro (now Paderno Ponchielli), Italy, on August 31, 1834. His father was a good amateur organist who gave young Amilcare his first lessons. After showing remarkable advancement, he began study with an organist from a nearby village. At the age of nine, Ponchielli was taken into the Milan Conservatory, where he would remain, tuition free, for 11 years. There he began study with Arturo Angeleri on piano and Pietro Ray in music theory. At age 10, the precocious Ponchielli wrote a symphony in piano score.

In 1851, he began instruction in composition with Felice Frasi, and was already delving into opera. His first flirtation with it came when he collaborated with three other students in the 1851 effort, Il sindaco babbeo. After graduating from the Conservatory in 1854, Ponchielli took an organist position at a church in Cremona, not far from his native Paderno. The following year, he became assistant to the director of the Teatro Concordia. It was here that his first opera, the aforementioned I promessi sposi, was staged in 1856 with some success. Over the next 15 years, Ponchielli struggled to achieve a significant triumph, but his operas either failed (sometimes to even reach the stage) or had success only in provincial opera houses.

In 1864, he became conductor of the Cremona municipal band and started work on his ballet, Grisetta (1864-1865). While it was a mild success, he wanted to focus his attention on opera. Eventually he returned to I promessi sposi, which scored a success in its revised version in Milan in 1872. Soon it was taken up by many other theaters in Italy, and in the meantime Ponchielli found an ally in the publishing world when Ricordi began issuing his music scores. In addition, his recently composed ballet, Le due gemelle, was staged at La Scala in 1873 and scored a major success.

Ponchielli had now emerged as one of the leading composers in Italy. In 1874 he married soprano Teresina Brambilla. Together they had three children. Ponchielli's reputation was bolstered further in 1876 by his greatest triumph, La gioconda, with libretto by Arrigo Boito. The work would be taken up by opera houses all over Europe, as far away as St. Petersburg, where Ponchielli would attend performances in 1884. In 1880, following further successes, he was appointed head of composition at the Milan Conservatory and, in 1881, maestro di cappella at the Bergamo Cathedral. He died five years later, on January 17, 1886. Read less
Ponchielli: La Gioconda /  Votto, Callas, Poggi, Benzi
Release Date: 09/23/2014   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 634108   Number of Discs: 3
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Work: La Gioconda: Cielo e mar

Browse 1-25 of 138 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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  ... 
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  • 2.
    Luciano Pavarotti Edition 1 - The First Decade
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002051802 Release Date: 05/19/2014   Number of Discs: 28
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Josephine Veasey,  Cornelius Opthof  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Zubin Mehta,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Chorus,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra  ... 
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  • 3.
    Domingo at the Met [Anniversary Edition]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 303160 Release Date: 05/06/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Umberto Giordano,  Ruggero Leoncavallo  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 4.
    Il Mito Dell'opera - Giuseppe Vendittelli, Vol. 2
    Label: Bongiovanni   Catalog: 1231 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Umberto Giordano,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Giuseppe Vendittelli,  Enrica Guarrini,  Magda [Soprano Vocal] Olivero,  Bianca Berini
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  • 5.
    Richard Tucker - The Opera Recital Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 543283 Release Date: 08/06/2013   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Charles Gounod,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Tucker,  Dorothy Kirsten,  Eileen Farrell,  Daniza Ilitsch
    Conductor:  Fausto Cleva,  Nello Santi,  Franz Allers,  Wilfrid Pelletier  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Fausto Cleva,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 6.
    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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  • 7.
    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:  Umberto Cattini,  Alfredo Simonetto,  Arturo Basile,  Angelo Questa  ... 
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  • 8.
    Opera Arias / Ramon Vargas
    Label: Capriccio Records   Catalog: 5165 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Francesco Cilèa  ... 
    Performer:  Ramón Vargas
    Conductor:  Riccardo Frizza
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  • 9.
    Historical Recordings 1902-1914
    Label: Gala   Catalog: 7700009 Release Date: 05/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Amilcare Ponchielli  ... 
    Performer:  Enrico Caruso,  Nellie Melba,  Antonio [Baritone Vocals] Scotti,  Ernestine Schumann-Heink  ... 
    Conductor:  Walter B. Rogers,  Giulio Setti
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  • 10.
    Enrico Caruso: Historical Recordings 1902-1914
    Label: Bel Age   Catalog: 7703692 Release Date: 05/03/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Amilcare Ponchielli  ... 
    On sale! $11.98
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  • 11.
    Jussi Björling - Classic Arias & Duets Of Bizet, Puccini, Et Al
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1080 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Jules Massenet,  Charles Gounod,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Jussi Björling,  Robert Merrill,  Emil Markow,  Harry Ebert
    Conductor:  Renato Cellini,  Nils Grevillius
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  • 12.
    Nicolai Gedda - Tenor Par Excellence
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1203 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Jules Massenet,  Georges Bizet,  Daniel-François-Esprit Auber  ... 
    Performer:  Nicolai Gedda
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  • 13.
    Label: Somerset Entertainment   Catalog: 50865 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
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  • 14.
    Label: Somerset Entertainment   Catalog: 56003 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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  • 15.
    Opera 2012
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001675802 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Umberto Giordano,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Andrea Bocelli,  Anna Netrebko,  Jonas Kaufmann,  Cecilia Bartoli  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Fabio Luisi,  Antonio Pappano,  Giovanni Antonini  ... 
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  • 16.
    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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  • 17.
    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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  • 18.
    Il Tenore / Salvatore Licitra
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 798960 Release Date: 02/07/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Pietro Mascagni,  Francesco Cilèa  ... 
    Performer:  Salvatore Licitra,  Mary Plazas,  Marcelo Alvarez
    Conductor:  Carlo Rizzi,  Roberto Rizzi Brignoli,  Daniel May
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan  ... 
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  • 19.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit: Florencio Constantino
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89748 Release Date: 11/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Arrigo Boito,  Amilcare Ponchielli  ... 
    Performer:  Florencio Constantino,  Alice Nielsen
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  • 20.
    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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  • 21.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit: Albert Da Costa
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89740 Release Date: 02/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Jacques Halévy,  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Albert da Costa
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  • 22.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit: Kurt Baum
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89741 Release Date: 02/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gioachino Rossini,  Jacques Halévy,  Giacomo Meyerbeer  ... 
    Performer:  Kurt Baum
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Loibner
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  • 23.
    Viva Domingo!
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 48757 Release Date: 02/08/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Keith Erwen,  David Cangelosi,  Renata Scotto  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  John Barker,  Eugene Kohn,  Asher Fisch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus  ... 
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  • 24.
    Vina Bovy & Louis Morrisson - Recordings 1925-1948
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10036 Release Date: 11/02/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Ernest Reyer,  Pietro Mascagni,  Daniel-François Auber  ... 
    Performer:  Louis Morrisson,  Bourvil,  Raoul Jobin,  Vina Bovy  ... 
    Conductor:  André Cluytens
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  • 25.
    Bravo Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001480402 Release Date: 10/19/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Tom Krause,  Montserrat Caballé,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Richard Bonynge,  Bruno Bartoletti,  Riccardo Chailly  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus  ... 
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