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Luigi Ricci
Birth: Jul. 8, 1805
Naples
Campania, Italy
Death: Oct. 22, 1859
Prague, Czech Republic

Composer, Conductor. He was a notable creator of Italian opera, sometimes working in collaboration with his brother, composer Federico Ricci. Their musical fairy tale "Crispino e la comare" ("The Cobbler and the Fairy", 1850) was one of the most popular comic operas of the 19th Century. Ricci was born in Naples and educated at its San Sebastiano Conservatory, where his first opera, "L'impresario in anguiste", was performed when he was 17. Like his idol Donizetti, his musical gifts were lyric rather than dramatic and he preferred the lighter genres of opera buffa and opera semiseria ("semi-serious opera"). The triumphs of "Chiara di Rosembergh" (1831) and "Un'avventura di Scaramuccia" (1834) made him famous throughout Europe. During the 1830s "Chiara di Rosembergh" was heard more often in Italy's leading opera house, La Scala in Milan, than Bellini's "Norma". The flamboyant Ricci apparently let success go to his head. In 1838 he attempted to outdo Mozart with his new version of the beloved "The Marriage of Figaro", only to see it hissed off the La Scala stage. Critics castigated him for his effrontery. ("It had to go that way with you", Rossini later told him. "You wanted to be too smart"). After that humbling experience Ricci moved to Trieste, and for the rest of his life he was more active as a conductor than a composer. But he continued to draw controversy. From 1844 he lived openly in a ménage à trois with identical twin sopranos Franziska and Ludmilla Stolz, the older sisters of famed future diva Teresa Stolz. To further their careers he composed an opera for both to perform in, "La solitaria della Asturie" (1845), and took them on tours of Denmark, Russia and Turkey, with scandalous publicity and confusion dogging their every move. He married Ludmilla in 1849 but continued his relationship with Franziska, and had children with both. The great success of "Crispino e la comare" and "La festa di Piedigrotta" (1852) restored much of his lost prestige. By the late 1850s Ricci was suffering the effects of tertiary syphilis and was barely able to complete his last opera, "Il diavolo a quattro" (premiered in May 1859). Reflecting on the fate of Donizetti, a victim of the same disease, he mused, "I'll end up like him". And so he did, spending his final months confined to an asylum in Prague. His daughter with Ludmilla, Lella Ricci, had a budding career as an opera singer before her death at 21. His son with Franziska, Luigi Ricci-Stolz, was a composer and conductor. Ricci wrote 30 operas, including four with his brother between 1835 and 1850. Of their sporadic partnership it was said Luigi was the more creative while Federico was the finer musician. They brought the best out of each other with "Crispino e la comare", which revived the fading opera buffa tradition in Italy and was an international audience favorite for the rest of the 1800s. It influenced the retro operatic style of 20th Century composer Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari. (bio by: Bobb Edwards) 
 
Family links: 
 Children:
  Lella Ricci (1850 - 1871)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Olsanske hrbitovy
Prague
Okres Praha
Prague Capital City, Czech Republic
Plot: II-2-50
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
Record added: Jul 18, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 73575530
Luigi Ricci
Added by: Bobb Edwards
 
Luigi Ricci
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Lutetia
 
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- Ryan D. Curtis
 Added: Jul. 8, 2014

- Tracey Reid
 Added: Oct. 22, 2013

- Tom Cummings
 Added: Aug. 24, 2013
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