Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Great Opera

Music History Monday: A Decidedly Politically-Incorrect Rant

As events in music history go, July 9 is definitely on the lighter side. (Although, for me – personally – it is an important day, and I would use this opportunity to wish the happiest of birthdays to my beautiful daughter Rachel Amy, who was born in Berkeley, California 32 years ago today!) But back to musical business. We will indeed recognize the birth on July 9, 1879 – 139 years ago today – of the Italian composer, musicologist, and violinist Ottorino Respighi in Bologna, the city of lunch meat and red sauce fame. Respighi’s fame as a composer rests on four works: his three orchestral tone poems Fountains of Rome, Pines of Rome, and Roman Festivals; and the eighth of his nine operas, a work entitled La fiamma (meaning “The Flame”), which received its premiere on January 23, 1934 in Rome. Fancy that: an Italian composer writing opera! In fact, there’s nothing more natural in the world. Opera was invented in Italy for the same reason that surfing was invented in Hawaii: Hawaii is surrounded by warm ocean water and perfect waves and Italians are surround by the musical warmth and beauty of the Italian language: that seemingly perfect […]

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