Leoncavallo, Ruggero

BORN 23 Apr 1857, Napoli, Campania - DIED 9 Aug 1919, Montecatini Terme, Toscana
GRAVE LOCATION Brissago, Ticino: Chiesa Madonna di Ponte (Portico del XVII secolo (near the church of Madonna del Ponte))

Ruggero Leoncavallo was the son of the judge and police magistrate Vincenzo Leoncavallo from Naples. As a child he moved to Montalto Uffufo in Calabria with his father. Later he returned to Naples where he attended the Conservatorio di San Pietro a Majella before he entered the University of Bologna. There he studied literature with Giosuè Carducci.

In 1879 his uncle Giuseppe invited him to Egypt to show his talents as a pianist. He became piano teacher and pianist to the brother of the new khedive Tewfik Pasha. After revolts in 1882 he left Egypt for France. There he worked as an accompanist and instructor. He met Berthe Rambaud (1869-1926) and they married in 1895. He wrote a symphonic poem based on Alfred de Musset's "La nuit de mai" and its premiere in April 1887 was favourably met by the critics.

He returned to Italy where he wanted to become an opera composer. He worked as a teacher instead until he witnessed Pietro Mascagni's "Cavalleria rusticana". He decided to write his own verismo work, resulting in "Paglicacci". It was first performed in Milan in 1892 and an instant success. In 1893 it was followed by "I Medici" and in 1896 by "Chatterton", but both were far less successful. In 1897 his "La Bohème" was performed in Venice but it stood in the shadow of Puccini's opera of the same name from 1896. Further operas followed and in 1906 he organised performances of his work in the USA. His "Zingari" was a another success in London in 1912.

He died in 1919 and he was buried at the Cimitero delle Porte Sante in Florence. Mascagni and Puccini attended his funeral. Berthe was buried beside him in 1926. In 1989 their remains were transferred to Brissago.

Related persons
• was pupil of Carducci, Giosuè

21/5/1892Premiere of Leoncavallo's opera "Pagliacci" at the Teatro Dal Verme in Milan. The performance was conducted by Arturo Toscanini. [Toscanini, Arturo]
6/5/1897Premiere of Leoncavallo's opera "La bohème" at the Teatro la Fenice, Venice. Alessandro Pomè was the conductor. 
12/8/1913Leoncavallo's "Pagliacci" is performed at the Gran Teatro Circo in San Sebastian. Performers were Lina Cavalieri, Titta Ruffo and Guillaume Ibos. [Cavalieri, Lina]


The grave of Ruggero Leoncarvallo at the Chiesa Madonna di Ponte in Brissago, Ticino.
Picture by Androom (16 Feb 2019)


The grave of Ruggero Leoncarvallo at the Chiesa Madonna di Ponte in Brissago, Ticino.
Picture by Androom (16 Feb 2019)


Wikipedia (IT): http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruggero_Leoncavallo
La bohème (Leoncavallo) - Wikipedia
Wikipedia (EN): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pagliacci
Titta Ruffo | Cronology

Leopold Ferdinand of Habsburg-Toscane, Archduke of Austria

Published: 13 Feb 2023
Last update: 13 Feb 2023