Franco Alfano: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Franco Alfano (March 8, 1875 – October 27, 1954) was an Italian composer and pianist. Though today best known for completing Puccini's unfinished opera Turandot in 1926, he had considerable success with his own works during his lifetime.



He was born in Posillipo, near Naples. Until recent times, musical histories usually gave the year of Alfano's birth, incorrectly, as 1876. He attended piano privately under Alessandro Longo (1864-1946), and harmony and composition respectively under Camillo de Nardis (1857-1951) and Paolo Serrao (1830-1907) at the conservatory San Pietro a Majella in Naples. Later, after graduating, he pursued further composition studies with Hans Sitt (1850-1922) and Salomon Jadassohn (1831-1902) in Leipzig. While working there he met his idol, Edvard Grieg, and wrote numerous piano and orchestral pieces. He completed his first opera, Miranda, still unpublished, for which he also wrote the libretto after a novel by Antonio Fogazzaro, in 1896. His work La Fonte Di Enschir (libretto by Luigi Illica) was refused by Ricordi but was shown in Wrocław (then Breslau) as Die Quelle von Enschir on 8 November 1898, enjoying some success.

The following three operas are usually considered as his most important:

From 1918 he was Director of the Conservatory of Bologna, and he directed the Turin Conservatory from 1923. Alfano died in San Remo.[1]

Historical perspectives

Fanfare Sept/Oct 98-99 gives the following information: Alfano's reputation suffers because (a) he should not be judged as a composer on the basis of the task he was given in completing Turandot (La Scala, April 25, 1926), (b) "we almost never hear everything he wrote for Turandot--the standard ending heavily edits Alfano's work."[2] (c)" is not his conclusion that is performed in productions of Turandot but only what the premiere conductor Arturo Toscanini included from it...Puccini had worked for nine months on the following concluding duet and at his death had left behind a whole ream of sketches....Alfano had to reconstruct ...according to his best assessment...and with his imagination and magnifying glass" since Puccini's material "had not really been legible."

[Konrad Dryden, cited supra, p. 33, adds that the project, reluctantly undertaken, resulted in "near blindness in his right eye, requiring three months spent in darkened rooms."]

Fogel: "Alfano's reputation has also suffered [IC:along with Mascagni], understandably, because of his willingness to associate himself closely with Mussolini's Fascist government."

Alex Ross, in an article in The New Yorker, February 27, 2006, pp. 84-85 notes a new ending composed by Luciano Berio premiered in 2002 [1] - this is preferred by some critics, for making a more satisfactory resolution of Turandot's change of heart, and of being more in keeping with Puccini's evolving technique.

List of works

  • 1896 Miranda Opera
  • 1898 La Fonte di Enschir Opera
  • 1899 Four Romanian Dances for piano
  • 1901 Napoli Ballet
  • 1901 Lorenza - Ballet
  • 1904 Risurrezione Opera
  • 1909 Suite Romantica for orchestra (became Eliana)
  • 1909 Il principe di Zilah - Opera
  • 1910 Symphony n. 1
  • 1910 I Cavalieri e la Bella Opera (never completed)
  • 1914 Lombra di Don Giovanni Opera (later Don Juan de Manara)
  • 1918 Tre poemi by Tagore for voice and piano
  • 1918 Quartet n. 1 for strings
  • 1919 Six songs for voice and piano
  • 1921 La Leggenda di Sakùntala Opera
  • 1923 Eliana Ballet from Suite Romantica
  • 1923 Sonata for violin and piano
  • 1925 Sonata for cello and piano
  • 1926 Turandot finale Opera
  • 1926 Quartet n. 2 for strings
  • 1927 Madonna Imperia Opera
  • 1928 Tre Liriche by Tagore for voice and piano
  • 1929 Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano
  • 1930 Lultimo Lord Opera semiseria
  • 1930 Himno al Libertador dedicated to Simon Bolivar
  • 1933 Vesuvio Ballet
  • 1933 Symphony n. 2
  • 1935 Divertimento for piano and chamber orchestra
  • 1936 Nuove Liriche Tagoriane for voice and piano
  • 1936 Quintet for piano and strings
  • 1936 Cyrano de Bergerac Opera
  • 1939 Tre Nuove Liriche
  • 1941 Don Juan de Manara Opera
  • 1943 E Giunto il Nostro Ultimo Autunno for voice and piano
  • 1945 Quartet n. 3 for strings
  • 1948 Cinque Nuove Liriche Tagoriane for voice and piano
  • 1949 Il Dottor Antonio Opera
  • 1950 Vesuvius Opera for radio (from Vesuvius)
  • 1952 Sakùntala Opera (reconstruction)
  • 1953 Sinfonia Classica from Symphony n. 1

Other works: Suite Adriatica; Intermezzi for Strings; Ninna-Nanna Partenopea.

Symphonies 1 and 2 [reviewed by Barry Brenesal in the same issue of Fanfare, pp. 103-4].


  1. ^ Konrad Dryden, cpo recording of Cirano di Bergerac gives this information.
  2. ^ In the cpo opera set of Cyrano de Bergerac, Andreas K.W. Meyer, translated into English by Susan Marie Praeder, pp. 29-30.

1925 Sonata for Cello and Piano world premiere recording by Cellist Samuel Magill and Pianist Scott Dunn on the Naxos label 1932 Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano World premiere recording by Violinist Elmira Darvarova, Cellist Samuel Magill and Pianist Scott Dunn on the Naxos label (2009)

Further Reading

Konrad Dryden: Franco Alfano, Transcending Turandot, (Scarecrow Press Inc., 2009)

External links

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address