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 Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari

Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari

Birth
Venice, Città Metropolitana di Venezia, Veneto, Italy
Death 21 Jan 1948 (aged 72)
Venice, Città Metropolitana di Venezia, Veneto, Italy
Burial Venice, Città Metropolitana di Venezia, Veneto, Italy
Memorial ID 11160886 · View Source
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Composer. He is best remembered for his comic operas, which updated the old Italian tradition of "opera buffa" in a pleasantly modern guise. They were internationally popular in the years before World War II, though none have remained in the repertory. Among them are "Le donne curiose" (1903), "I quattro rusteghi" (1906), "Il segreto di Susanna" (1909), "L'amore medico" (1913), "Gli amanti sposi" (1925), and "Il campiello" (1936). Several were based on comedies by the 18th Century playwright Carlo Goldoni. Ermanno Wolf was born in Venice, Italy to German-Italian parents. He later added his mother's maiden name of Ferrari to his own, reflecting the love of both cultures that was the prime influence of his life. At first he wanted to become a painter like his father, but following art studies in Rome and in Munich, Germany he decided to pursue music instead, studying composition and counterpoint with Josef Rheinberger at the Munich Conservatory (1893 to 1895). Back in Italy he gained respect as a choral conductor in Milan and in 1903 he was appointed director of Venice's Liceo Musicale; however his first opera, "La Cenerentola" (1900), was a fiasco. His music was far better received in Germany and from 1909 he lived primarily in Munich, with frequent visits to his hometown. A very sensitive and rather melancholy man, Wolf-Ferrari was horrified when Italy and Germany were pitted against each other during World War I; he spent that period in Zurich, Switzerland and fell into a depression that left him unable to compose for several years. In 1939 he attempted to distance himself from Hitler's Germany by accepting a professorship at the Salzburg Mozarteum in Austria, and a short time later he retreated into seclusion in the Austrian countryside. After World War II he returned permanently to Venice, where he died. Wolf-Ferrari was never a favorite with critics, even at the height of his pre-war popularity. His style was quite conservative, reminiscent of his idol Mozart with bits of Wagner and Richard Strauss thrown into the mix. He cared nothing for trends and publicly disparaged the "modernists" (his quotation marks) who rejected the past he found so nurturing. For him music's greatest gift was to provide comfort. In a rare interview he remarked, "When I see how many people lose the ability to be happy because of their hard life, I just have to consider music as a kind of balm for this wound, as a relief for the unhappy or for those who cannot create joy themselves". His 13 operas also include his personal favorite, "Das Himmelskleid" (after a Perrault fairy tale, 1927), "Sly" (1927), and "La vedova scaltra" (1931). In addition he wrote a fair amount of instrumental music and a late work, the Violin Concerto (1946), is occasionally performed.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bunny Boiler
  • Added: 13 Jun 2005
  • Find A Grave Memorial 11160886
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari (12 Jan 1876–21 Jan 1948), Find A Grave Memorial no. 11160886, citing Cimitero di San Michele, Venice, Città Metropolitana di Venezia, Veneto, Italy ; Maintained by Find A Grave .