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Ponchielli, Amilcare

PONCHIELLI, AMILCARE (1834-1886), Italian musical composer, was born near Cremona on the 1st of September 1834. He studied at the Milan Conservatoire. His first dramatic work, written in collaboration with two other composers, was // Sindaco Babbeo (1851). After completing his studies at Milan he returned to Cremona, where his opera / Promessi sposi was produced in 1856. This was followed by La Savoyards (1861, produced in a revised version as Line in 1877), Roderigo, re dei Goti (1864), and La Stella del monte (1867). A revised version of I Promessi sposi, which was produced at Milan in 1872, was his first genuine success. After this came a ballet, Le Due Gemelle (1873), and an opera, I Liluani (1874, produced in a revised version as Alduna in 1884). Ponchielli reached the zenith of his fame with La Gioconda (1876), written to a libretto founded by Arrigo Boito upon Victor Hugo's tragedy, Angela, Tyran de Padoue. La Gioconda was followed by // Figliuol prodigo (1880) and Marion Delorme (1885). Among his less important works are II Parlatore eterno, a musical farce (1873), and a ballet, Clarina (1873). In 1881 Ponchielli was made maestro di cappella of Piacenza Cathedral. His music shows the influence of Verdi, but at its best it has a distinct value of its own, and an inexhaustible flow of typically Italian melody. His fondness for fanciful figures in his accompaniments has been slavishly imitated by Mascagni, Leoncavallo, and many of their contemporaries. Ponchielli died at Milan on the 17th of January 1886.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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