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.