Welcome to April, Stage Music Center! Here’s another issue of Composer’s Spotlight. Here we have a pretty well known composer who was born in April of 1857 -- Ruggero Leoncavallo. Known most famously for his opera Il Pagliacci and a few well known art songs including “Mattinata”(more on this one later).
He was born in Naples and moved back and forth between there and Calabria for most of his early life. He studied literature at first until his father took a position with the Foreign Ministry in Cairo Egypt. There Leoncavallo found a piano teacher who was a member of the royal family. He fled Egypt for France after the uprisings in 1882. There he continued his studies and subsequently made debuts of his major works in Milan, and throughout Europe.
The Museo Leoncavallo (Leoncavallo Museum) was established in 2002 in Brissago which houses many manuscripts and some of his other personal effects.
Of historical note, one of the oldest recordings includes this gem (below). With the great tenor Enrico Caruso and Leoncavallo himself at the piano. Enjoy!