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Classical Composers A-Z: Pietro Mascagni

Peter Wintersgill tells us something of Pietro Mascagni, composer of the ever-popular opera Cavalleria Rusticana.

Born
7th December, 1863, in Leghorn, Italy.

Adolescence
Studied at Milan Conservatoire at 18 with Poncielli.

Adult Life
Won first prize in a competition with his one act opera Cavalleria Rusticana (1890), which was a great success and has remained popular ever since. It is usually staged in a double act with Leoncavallo's Pagliacci - "Cav and Pag".

His second opera L'Amico Fritz (1891) was thought by Malher to be better still, but it failed to survive. He wrote many other operas, but none of then have survived.

His last one, Nerone (1935), was composed to please Mussolini, but failed to do so. Its sole result was to bring him the conductorship of La Scala, Milan, in succession to Toscanini. He died on 2nd August, 1945 in Rome, aged 81.

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