Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Rudolph Bing

Music History Monday: An Impresario for the Ages: Rudolf Bing

We mark the birth on January 9, 1902 – 121 years ago today – of the opera impresario Rudolf Bing, in Vienna Austria.  The general manager of the Metropolitan Opera in New York from 1950 to 1972, Bing died in Yonkers, New York in September 1997 at the age of 95.  His was a long life by any standard, but particularly by the standards of an opera impresario, whose professional livesare marked by a degree of life-threatening stress and anxiety that, perhaps, only has its equal in combat and divorce court.   Impresario The term “impresario” originated in the world of Italian opera in the 1750s.  Deriving from the Italian word “impresa,” which is “an enterprise or undertaking,” an impresario was that single individual who organized, financed, and produced operas (and later, concerts).  It was a job similar to what a film producer does today; a high stress job not for the faint of heart or weak of bladder. Apropos of the impresarios of his day, the great Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868) wrote in reference to how he went about composing his opera overtures: “Wait until the evening before the opening night.  Nothing primes inspiration more than necessity, whether it’s the […]

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