Respighi, Ottorino

BORN 9 Jul 1879, Bologna, Emilia-Romagna - DIED 18 Apr 1936, Roma, Lazio
CAUSE OF DEATH infective myocarditis
GRAVE LOCATION Bologna, Emilia-Romagna: Cimitero monumentale della Certosa di Bologna, Via della Certosa 18 (Campo Carducci, Lato destro C1)

Ottorino Respighi came from a musical family and he received violin and piano lessons from an early age. He also learned himself to play the harp in a few days. At the Liceo Musicale di Bologna he studied violin, viola and composition. Among his teachers were director Giuseppe Martucci and Luigi Torchi. At the age of 20 he performed in the orchestra of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna.

The Russian Imperial Theatre in Saint Petersburg appointed him as principal violinist in 1900 for a season and he studied with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov for five months. In 1902 he studied with Max Bruch for a while in Berlin. From 1903 to 1908 he was first violinist of the touring Mugellini Quintet. In 1908 he worked with Etelka Gerster at her singing school for a year. He met Arthur Nikisch and Nikisch staged his version of Monteverdi's "Lamento d'Arianna" with Julia Culp as solist.

In 1913 he moved from Bologna to Rome, where was appointed professor of composition at the Liceo Musicale di Santa Cecilia. He married his pupil Elsa Olivieri Sangiacomo in 1919.

His symfonic poems "Fontane di Roma" (1917) and "Pini di Roma" (1924) made him famous. In 1921 he first toured with Elsa as joint performers. In 1923 he resigned from his professorship because he wanted more time for composing and for touring. From 1925 onwards he conducted in the USA and in South-America. He was working on hois opera "Lucrezia" when he fell ill late in 1935. He died on 18 April 1936 from complicaitons of bloodpoisoning with Elsa by his side. The premiere of "Lucrezia" took place on 24 February 1937. Elsa lived for another sixty years and died in 1996 aged 101.

• Wife: Respighi, Elsa (1919-1936)

Related persons
• was teacher of Somma, Bonaventura

26/4/1923Premiere of Respighi's opera "Belgafor" at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan. The libretto was written by his friend Claudio Guastalla, based on the play "Belgagor" by Ercole Luigi Morselli. Antonio Guarnieri was the conductor and Vittorio Rota was the set designer. Performers were Mariano Stabile, Gaetano Azzolini, Anna Gramegna, Margaret Sheridan, Thea Vitulli, Cesira Ferrari, Francesco Merli and Ida Mannarini. [Sheridan, Margaret Burke]
24/2/1937Premiere of Respighi's opera "Lucrezia" at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan. The librett owas written by Claudio Guastalla. Gino Marinuzzi was the conductor. The set was designed by Pietro Aschieri. Performers were Ebe Stignani as The Voice and Maria Caniglia as Lucrezia. Andere vocalisten waren Renata Villani en Maria Marcucci. 


The grave of Ottorino Respighi and Else Olivieri-Sangiacomo at the Cimitero monumentale della Certosa, Bologna.
Picture by Androom (10 Feb 2017)


Encyclopedie van de Muziek, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1959

Rethel, Alfred

Published: 10 Apr 2022
Last update: 25 Apr 2022