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Saverio Mercadante
Birth: Sep. 17, 1795
Bari
Puglia, Italy
Death: Dec. 17, 1870
Naples
Campania, Italy

Composer. An important developer of 19th Century Italian opera, he strongly influenced the early music of Giuseppe Verdi. Mercadante was born in Altamura, near Bari, Italy. He studied flute, violin and composition at the Naples Conservatory (1816 to 1820) and became the favorite student of that institution's director, Niccolo Zingarelli. Rossini was impressed enough with his talent to write Zingarelli, "My compliments...your pupil Mercadante begins where we leave off", and encouraged the young musician to tackle opera. The Rossini influence is evident in his first hit, the opera buffa "Elisa e Claudio" (1821), though by the mid-1820s he was pursuing a more emotive style. He soujourned in Vienna, Spain and Portugal before returning permanently to Italy in 1831. While serving as music director of the Novara Cathedral (1833 to 1840), Mercadante drew away from what he considered the excesses of the bel canto style represented by Donizetti and Bellini. His masterpiece, "Il giuramento" (1837), based on a play by Victor Hugo, was the first in his important series of "reform" operas in which he sought to emphasize the genre's dramatic aspect by banishing trivial vocal and orchestral effects - even if it meant rejecting the whimsical demands of star singers. Other operas in this group include "Elena da Feltre" (1839), "Il Bravo" (1839), "La vestale" (1840), "Il reggente" (1843), and "Orazi e Curiazi" (1846). For a time their success put him in the forefront of Italian music, and in 1840 he succeeded Zingarelli as director of the Naples Conservatory, retaining that post until his death. Mercadante was a highly skilled craftsman and his ideas for the future of Italian opera were sound, but he didn't have the creative imagination to develop them effectively; he diagnosed what was unnecessary in music drama without creating viable alternatives. It took the genius of Verdi, beginning with "Nabucco" (1842), to build on the foundations the elder composer had set. (Echos of Mercadante's "La vestale" can be found in Verdi's "Aida" three decades later). For his part Mercadante was jealous of Verdi's international popularity and gradually withdrew from opera, writing his last one in 1857. After 1863 he was almost completely blind, but he continued to teach, and compose through dictation. Greatly esteemed in Italy during his lifetime, Mercadante's reputation fell into decline almost immediately after his death. Even "Il giuramento" was soon supplanted by Ponchielli's famous opera on the same subject, "La Gioconda" (1876). None of his 60 operas have remained in the repertory, though in recent years some have enjoyed revival. Today's listeners are most likely to encounter him through his six flute concertos, written between 1818 and 1819 when he was still a student. The Flute Concerto in E minor is popular and has been recorded by such virtuosos as Jean-Pierre Rampal and James Galway. (bio by: Bobb Edwards) 
 
Burial:
Cimitero Monumentale di Poggioreale
Naples
Provincia di Napoli
Campania, Italy
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Errete
Record added: Aug 19, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 57327271
Saverio Mercadante
Added by: Bobb Edwards
 
Saverio Mercadante
Added by: Errete
 
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