Gian Carlo Menotti Leading Italian American composer.

Perhaps the most renowned composer of our time Gian Carlo Menotti (1911- ) was born in Cadegliano, Italy, one of ten children of a well to do family. Learning the basics of music from his mother, he actually wrote his first opera at age eleven. He then studied at the prestigious Milan Conservatory and, at the suggestion of Arturo Toscanini, he attended the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia upon arriving in the United States in 1927.

Menotti attained enormous success with his 1937 opera "Amelia Goes to the Ball," a witty satire on society manners that was performed at the Metropolitan Opera House in 1938. In 1939 Menotti composed a couple of radio operas such as "The Old Maid and the Thief" and "The Island God." This was followed in 1941 with "The Medium," a chamber opera -one requiring fewer singers and a smaller orchestra- that is a tragedy about a medium. Menotti also wrote the libretto for famed composer Samuel Barber's opera "Vanessa." "Amahl and the Night Visitors," composed by Menotti in 1951and the first opera written for television, is one of his most enduring works. This opera which features a lame shepherd boy who gives his crutch to the three Wise men as a gift for the Christ Child, has become a Christmas favorite. Of more substantial nature are Menotti's "The Consul" and "The Saint of Bleeker Street," both of which won the Pulitzer Prize. These and other works he composed demonstrate the variety of structural styles he employs as well as his acquaintance with the Puccini sense of tragedy and popular appeal. A promoter of serious music in 1958 Menotti established the Festival for Two Worlds, for opera, music and drama, in Spoleto, Italy.

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