I think that one of the best ways to commemorate, or indeed celebrate a composer’s life is by listening to one of his or her works. And as the exhibition I prepared concentrates on stage works, the suggestion of a slightly different work is in order: Landscapes and Remembrances for soloists, chorus and orchestra. This secular cantata was premiered on 14th May 1976, and can be seen within the wider context of the United States of America Bicentennial (the 200th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence was on 4th July 1976). However, on a very direct level the cantata consists of nine moments or stations of Menotti’s life, from him setting foot on American soil in 1928 to a point of (presumably) ascending to heaven after death:
I. Arrival in New York by sea
II. The abandoned mansion (South Carolina)
III. Parade in Texas
IV. Nocturne (Driving at night through the desert)
V. A subway ride in Chicago
VI. Picnic by the Brandywine
VII. An imaginary trip through Wisconsin
VIII. Farewell at a train station in Vermont
IX. The sky of departure.
Another way of celebrating Menotti is heading for Spoleto in Umbria (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spoleto), and attending this year’s Festival dei Due Mondi (Festival of the Two Worlds). This is a festival which Menotti initiated in 1958, and which aimed to bring opera to the broadest audience possible. This year’s festival started on Friday 24 June and will conclude on Sunday 10 July with a performance of some music by Giuseppe Verdi.
However, today there is also the second day of a conference on Menotti, and some of his music has been scheduled.
Finally, BBC Radio 3 has also chosen Menotti as their ‘Composer of the Week’, for this week (for more information see http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006tnxf), so you can still immerse yourself in some of Menotti’s music!