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Gian Carlo Menotti (July 7, 1911 – February 1, 2007) was an Italian-American composer and librettist. Although he often referred to himself as an American composer, he kept his Italian citizenship.

He wrote the classic Christmas opera, Amahl and the Night Visitors, among about two dozen other operas intended to appeal to popular taste. He won the Pulitzer Prize for two of them: The Consul (1950) and The Saint of Bleecker Street (1955).

He founded the noted Festival dei Due Mondi (Festival of the Two Worlds) in 1958 and its American counterpart, Spoleto Festival USA, in 1977. In 1986 he commenced a Melbourne Spoleto Festival in Australia, but he withdrew after three years. (Picture: Gian Carlo Menotti, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1944)

Samuel Barber was an American composer. He is one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century; music critic Donal Henahan stated that "Probably no other American composer has ever enjoyed such early, such persistent and such long-lasting acclaim." He entered the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where he met Gian Carlo Menotti, who became his partner in life as well as in their shared profession. Gian Carlo Menotti supplied the libretto (text) for Barber's opera, Vanessa. They were together from 1929 until Barber's death, in 1981, 52 years.

It was around 1949 that Thomas Schippers met the composer Gian Carlo Menotti while accompanying a singer for an audition. This eventually led to a long term collaboration with Menotti. Following the 1950 premiere of Menotti’s opera The Consul, Schippers began conducting it on Broadway and in 1951 directed the milestone premiere television performance of Menotti’s Christmas Opera Amahl and the Night Visitors broadcast live on national television on Dec. 24. Schippers died of lung cancer in 1947. Even if Menotti was still in a relationship with Barber, and Schippers married (and the marriage was an happy one), Menotti and Schippers were together from 1949 until Schippers's death in 1977, 28 years. (Picture: Thomas Schippers)


Samuel Barber was an American composer. He is one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century; music critic Donal Henahan stated that "Probably no other American composer has ever enjoyed such early, such persistent and such long-lasting acclaim." He entered the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where he met Gian Carlo Menotti, who became his partner in life as well as in their shared profession. Gian Carlo Menotti supplied the libretto (text) for Barber's opera, Vanessa.


It was around 1949 that Thomas Schippers met the composer Gian Carlo Menotti while accompanying a singer for an audition. This eventually led to a long term collaboration with Menotti. Following the 1950 premiere of Menotti’s opera The Consul, Schippers began conducting it on Broadway and in 1951 directed the milestone premiere television performance of Menotti’s Christmas Opera Amahl and the Night Visitors broadcast live on national television on Dec. 24. Schippers died of lung cancer in 1977.

Born in Cadegliano-Viconago, Italy, near Lake Maggiore and the Swiss border, Menotti was the sixth of eight children of Alfonso and Ines Menotti, his father being a coffee merchant. Menotti began writing songs when he was seven years old, and at eleven wrote both the libretto and music for his first opera, The Death of Pierrot. He began his formal musical training at the Milan Conservatory in 1923.

Following her husband's death, Ines Menotti went to Colombia in a futile attempt to salvage the family's coffee business. She took Gian Carlo with her, and in 1928 she enrolled him at Philadelphia's Curtis Institute of Music, but she returned to Italy. Armed with a letter of introduction from the wife of Arturo Toscanini, Gian Carlo studied composition at Curtis under Rosario Scalero. Fellow students at Curtis included Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Barber. Barber became Menotti's lover and partner in life and in work; with Menotti crafting the libretto for Barber's most famous opera, Vanessa, which premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in 1958. As a student, Menotti spent much of his time with the Samuel Barber family in West Chester, Pennsylvania. After graduation, the two men bought a house together in Mount Kisco, New York, which they named "Capricorn" and shared for over forty years. It was at Curtis that Menotti wrote his first mature opera, Amelia Goes to the Ball (Amelia al Ballo), to his own Italian text. The Island God (which he suppressed, though its libretto was printed by the Metropolitan Opera and can be found in many libraries) and The Last Savage were the only other operas he wrote in Italian, the rest being in English. Like Wagner, he wrote the libretti of all his operas. His most successful works were composed in the 1940s and 1950s. Menotti also taught at the Curtis Institute of Music. Music critic Joel Honig served as his personal secretary during the late 1950s.

Menotti founded the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy in 1958, and its companion festival in Charleston, South Carolina in 1977. For three weeks each summer, Spoleto is visited by nearly a half-million people. These festivals were intended to bring opera to a popular audience and helped launch the careers of such artists as singer Shirley Verrett and choreographers Paul Taylor and Twyla Tharp. He left Spoleto USA in 1993 to take the helm of the Rome Opera, and in 1986, he extended the concept to a Spoleto Festival in Melbourne, Australia. Menotti was the artistic director during the period of 1986-88, but after three festivals there, he decided to withdraw – and took the naming rights with him. While he was in Melbourne, however, he put the finishing touches to his opera Goya. The Melbourne Spoleto Festival has now become the Melbourne International Arts Festival.

In 1974, Menotti adopted Francis "Chip" Phelan, an American actor and figure skater he had known since the early 1960s. In the same year, Menotti – persuaded by the good acoustics of the main room - bought Yester House, in the village of Gifford, East Lothian, in Scotland, the ancestral home of the marquesses of Tweeddale. While there, he jokingly referred to himself as "Mr McNotti".

In 1984 Menotti was awarded a Kennedy Center Honor for achievement in the arts, and in 1991 he was chosen Musical America's "Musician of the Year". In addition to composing operas to his own texts, on his own chosen subject matter, Menotti directed most productions of his work.

Menotti died on February 1, 2007, at the age of 95 in a hospital in Monte Carlo, Monaco, where he had a home.

In June and July 2007 the Festival of Two Worlds, which Menotti founded and oversaw until his death, dedicated the 50th Anniversary of the Festival to his memory, organised by his beloved son Francis. Menotti works performed during the festival included Maria Golovin, Landscapes and Remembrances, Missa O Pulchritudo, and The Unicorn, the Gorgon, and the Manticore.

Menotti wrote the libretti for two of Samuel Barber's operas, Vanessa and A Hand of Bridge, as well as revising the libretto for Antony and Cleopatra. Amelia al Ballo is the only one of Menotti's operas still to be published in its original or perhaps "complementary" Italian libretto (alongside the English) (see Ricordi editions 1937, 1976 and recent): it is an adept example of Italianate style (with a nod to, but not an imitation of Puccini and notably Mascagni) who at the time (1936) had had his last opera (Nerone) performed. Menotti's opera is regarded as unjustly neglected. It was, however, at the time so successful that NBC commissioned an opera specifically for radio, The Old Maid and the Thief, one of the first such works. Following this, he wrote a ballet, Sebastian (1944), and a piano concerto (1945) before returning to opera with The Medium and The Telephone, or L'Amour à trois.

His first full-length opera, The Consul, which premiered in 1950, won both the Pulitzer Prize for Music and the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Musical Play of the Year (the latter in 1954). He intended to give a role to a then-unknown Maria Callas, but the producer would not have it. In 1951, Menotti wrote his beloved Christmas opera Amahl and the Night Visitors for NBC. It was the first opera ever written for television in America, and first aired on Christmas Eve, 1951. The opera was such a success that the broadcasting of Amahl and the Night Visitors became an annual Christmas tradition. It remains Menotti's most popular work to this day. Menotti won a second Pulitzer Prize for his opera The Saint of Bleecker Street in 1955. With Goya, Menotti reverted to a traditional Giovane Scuola Italian style.

Menotti also wrote several ballets and numerous choral works. Notable among these is his cantata The Death of the Bishop of Brindisi, written in 1963, and the cantata Landscapes and Remembrances in 1976 - a descriptive work of Menotti's memories of America written for the United States Bicentennial. Also worthy of note is a small Mass commissioned by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore - Mass for the Contemporary English Liturgy. He also wrote a violin concerto, symphonies, and a stage play, The Leper. It was in the field of opera, however, that he made his most notable contributions to American cultural life.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gian_Carlo_Menotti

Samuel Osborne Barber II (March 9, 1910 – January 23, 1981) was an American composer of orchestral, opera, choral, and piano music. He is one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century; music critic Donal Henahan stated that "Probably no other American composer has ever enjoyed such early, such persistent and such long-lasting acclaim." His Adagio for Strings (1936) has earned a permanent place in the concert repertory of orchestras. He was twice awarded the Pulitzer Prize for music, for his opera Vanessa (1956–57) and his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (1962). Also widely performed is his Knoxville: Summer of 1915 (1947), a work for soprano and orchestra, which sets a prose text by James Agee. Unusual among contemporary composers, nearly all of his compositions have been recorded. (Picture: Samuel Barber, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1944)

Barber was born in West Chester, Pennsylvania, the son of Marguerite McLeod (née Beatty) and Samuel Le Roy Barber. He was born into a comfortable, educated, social, and distinguished Irish-American family. His father was a physician, and his mother was a pianist. His aunt, Louise Homer, was a leading contralto at the Metropolitan Opera and his uncle, Sidney Homer, was a composer of American art songs. Louise Homer is known to have influenced Barber's interest in voice. Through his aunt, Barber had access to many great singers and songs.

At a very early age, Barber became profoundly interested in music, and it was apparent that he had great musical talent and ability. He began studying the piano at the age of 6 and at age 7 composed his first work, Sadness, a 23 measure solo piano piece in C minor. At the age of nine he wrote to his mother:
Dear Mother: I have written this to tell you my worrying secret. Now don't cry when you read it because it is neither yours nor my fault. I suppose I will have to tell it now without any nonsense. To begin with I was not meant to be an athlet [sic]. I was meant to be a composer, and will be I'm sure. I'll ask you one more thing.—Don't ask me to try to forget this unpleasant thing and go play football.—Please—Sometimes I've been worrying about this so much that it makes me mad (not very).


Barber attempted to write his first opera, entitled The Rose Tree, at the age of 10. At the age of 12 he became an organist at a local church. When he was 14, he entered the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he studied piano with Isabelle Vengerova, composition with Rosario Scalero, and voice with Emilio de Gorgoza. He began composing seriously in his late teenage years. Around the same time, he met fellow Curtis schoolmate Gian Carlo Menotti , who became his partner in life as well as in their shared profession. At the Curtis Institute, Barber was a triple prodigy in composition, voice, and piano. He soon became a favorite of the conservatory's founder, Mary Louise Curtis Bok. It was through Mrs. Bok that Barber was introduced to his lifelong publisher, the Schirmer family. At the age of 18, Barber won the Joseph H. Bearns Prize from Columbia University for his violin sonata Fortune's Favorite Child (now lost or destroyed by the composer).

From his early to late twenties, Barber wrote a flurry of successful compositions, launching him into the spotlight of the classical music world. His first orchestral work, the overture to The School for Scandal, was composed in 1931 when he was 21 years old. It premiered successfully two years later in a performance given by the Philadelphia Orchestra under conductor Alexander Smallens. Many of his compositions were commissioned or first performed by such famous artists as Vladimir Horowitz, Eleanor Steber, Raya Garbousova, John Browning, Leontyne Price, Pierre Bernac, Francis Poulenc, and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. In 1935, at the age of 25, he was awarded the American Prix de Rome and was the recipient of a Pulitzer traveling scholarship which allowed him to study abroad in 1935-1936. He was later awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1946.

When Barber was 28, his Adagio for Strings was performed by the NBC Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Arturo Toscanini in 1938, along with his first Essay for Orchestra. The Adagio had been arranged from the slow movement of Barber's String Quartet, Op. 11. Toscanini had only rarely performed music by American composers before (an exception was Howard Hanson's Second Symphony, which he conducted in 1933). At the end of the first rehearsal of the piece, Toscanini remarked, "Semplice e bella" (simple and beautiful).

Barber served in the Army Air Corps in World War II, where he was commissioned to write his Second Symphony, a work he later suppressed. (It was released in a Vox recording by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andrew Schenck.) Composed in 1943, the symphony was originally titled Symphony Dedicated to the Air Forces and was premiered in early 1944 by Serge Koussevitsky and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Barber revised the symphony in 1947, which was published by G. Schirmer, and recorded the following year by the New Symphony Orchestra of London conducted by the composer, but Barber subsequently destroyed the score in 1964. It was reconstructed from the instrumental parts. According to another source, however, it was precisely the parts to the symphony that Barber had torn up. Hans Heinsheimer was an eyewitness, and reported that he accompanied Barber to the publisher's office where they collected all the music from the library and Barber "tore up all these beautifully and expensively copied materials with his own hands" Doubt has been cast on this story, however, on grounds that Heinsheimer, as an executive at G. Schirmer, would have allowed Barber into the Schirmer offices to watch him "rip apart the music that his company had invested money in publishing".

Barber won the Pulitzer Prize twice: in 1958 for his first opera Vanessa, and in 1963 for his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra.

Barber spent many years in isolation after the harsh rejection of his third opera Antony and Cleopatra. He suffered from depression, and was also beset by alcoholism. The opera was written for and premiered at the opening of the new Metropolitan Opera House on September 16, 1966. After this setback, Barber continued to write music until he was almost 70 years old. Barber's music in his later years would be lauded as reflective and contemplative, but without the morbidity or unhappiness of other composers who knew they had a limited time to live. The Third Essay for Orchestra (1978) was his last major work.

Barber died of cancer in 1981 in New York City at the age of 70. He was buried in Oaklands Cemetery in his hometown of West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Barber was the recipient of numerous awards and prizes including the Rome Prize (the American version of the Prix de Rome), two Pulitzers, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1961.

Barber was initiated, as a full collegiate member, into the Zeta Iota chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity at Howard University in 1952.

In addition to composing, Barber was active in organizations that sought to help musicians and promote music. He was president of the International Music Council of UNESCO, where he did much to bring into focus and ameliorate the conditions facing musicians and musical organizations worldwide. He was one of the first American composers to visit Russia (then part of the Soviet Union). Barber was also influential in the successful campaign by composers against ASCAP, the goal of which was to increase royalties paid to composers.

Barber's life partner Gian Carlo Menotti, whom he had met at Curtis, supplied the libretto (text) for Barber's opera, Vanessa. Using his vocal training, in 1956 Barber played and sang the score to the Metropolitan Opera's General Manager, Rudolf Bing, who accepted the work. It premiered in January 1958. The title role was written for Sena Jurinac but she cancelled six weeks before the opening, to be replaced by Eleanor Steber, with whom the role has become closely identified. Vanessa won the 1958 Pulitzer Prize and gained acclaim as the first American grand opera.

Menotti also contributed the libretto for Barber's chamber opera A Hand of Bridge. Barber's Antony and Cleopatra was commissioned to open the new Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center in 1966. The elaborate production designed by Franco Zeffirelli was plagued with technical disasters; it also overwhelmed and obscured Barber's music, which most critics derided as uncharacteristically weak and unoriginal. The critical rejection of music that Barber considered to be among his best sent him into a deep depression. In recent years, a revised version of Antony and Cleopatra, for which Menotti provided collaborative assistance, has enjoyed some success.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Barber

Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1500563323
ISBN-13: 978-1500563325
Amazon: Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time

Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher


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