Staging Life : for Gian Carlo Menotti

Gian Carlo Menotti, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1944, presumed to be in public domain.

Gian Carlo Menotti, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1944, presumed to be in public domain.

Gian Carlo Menotti was born on 7th July 1911 and died in 2007. Today, we launch a new music exhibition to celebrate Menotti’s centenary (the exhibition will run until 14 Oct 2011).

Some praised him in the 1940s, 50s and 60s as the most prominent US opera composer. However, he seems to have been largely forgotten already. There are, of course, other composers who had a similar fate – being popular and well-known during some part of their lives, and then soon forgotten; this is also not a C20 phenomenon: think of the German Baroque composer Carl Heinrich Graun (1704-1759), who allegedly was more famous in his life-time than J. S. Bach; yet most Baroque music lovers, as opposed to ‘full-fledged researchers’, do not know of Graun.

It might be that Menotti captured the Zeitgeist of his time too well, and managed skilfully to relate to a post-World War II audience, especially in the USA. The exhibition will highlight some of the stage works, as these combine his skills as a composer, librettist and dramatist. Throughout the time that the exhibition runs, a couple of further blog posts will highlight and enlarge on certain pieces and aspects of his work and life.

CG

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About cg474

Since August 2010 I have worked as a librarian at the University of Cambridge (Cambridge, UK). Between August 2010 and November 2013 I was the Deputy Head of Music at Cambridge University Library and at the Pendlebury Library of Music. Between December 2013 and September 2015 I was the Librarian at the Marshall Library of Economics. Since October 2015 I have been the Librarian at the Divinity Library.
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3 Responses to Staging Life : for Gian Carlo Menotti

  1. Patricia Killiard says:

    I was delighted to hear of this exhibition devoted to Menotti since my first schoolgirl experience of live opera was a performance of “The Telephone” given by Scottish Opera as part of a tour of schools in Scotland. I later discovered that this coincided with Menotti’s move to Scotland where he bought a manor house in 1974. He therefore played a role in ensuring that a generation of children encountered 20th century opera and discovered that it might be fun.

    Like

    • cg474 says:

      Thank you for this interesting comment (I have been too busy to comment on your comment before, sorry). I wonder whether other readers out here have experienced a Menotti opera when they were younger; either “The Telephone” or “Amahl” might be ‘good candidates’ for an audience of “opera virgins”. This might be a very cultural difference to people like me who were not raised in an English-speaking country… I will need to make a little survey of some of my friends. 🙂

      Like

  2. Pingback: Buon Compleanno! Menotti would have been 100 today | MusiCB3 Blog

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