Boito, Arrigo


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Boito, Arrigo

(ärrē`go bô`ētō), 1842–1918, Italian composer and librettist. His opera Mefistofele (1868, rev. 1875), influenced by Wagner's music-drama, helped to bring about a new dramatic style in Italian opera. Its first performance, at La Scala, Milan, caused a riot, but it subsequently became very popular. Another opera, Nerone, was posthumously finished and produced by Toscanini in 1924. Many consider Boito's masterpieces to be the librettos for Verdi's Otello and Falstaff. He also was librettist for Ponchielli's La Gioconda and wrote novels and poems.

Boito, Arrigo

 

Born Feb. 24, 1842, in Padua; died June 10, 1918, in Milan. Italian composer, poet, and librettist. Received his doctorate from the University of Cambridge in 1893.

Boito studied at the Milan Conservatory under A. Mazzucato. In the 1860’s he lived in Germany, France, and Poland; thereafter he lived in Italy. His operatic works were influenced by R. Wagner; Boito sought to transfer the principles of Wagner’s musical drama to Italian opera. This can be seen in his first opera, Mephistopheles (Boito’s libretto after the first and second parts of Goethe’s Faust, 1868; revised, 1875). The popularity of this opera was fostered by F. I. Chaliapin, who played the role of Mephistopheles in Milan (1901) and Russia. Boito’s second opera was Nero (unfinished; produced according to A. Toscanini’s revision, 1924, La Scala Theater).

Boito wrote several short stories and poems (the collection Book of Verses and others) under the pseudonym of Tobia Gorrio. He wrote librettos for such operas as Otello, Simon Boccanegra, and Falstaff by Verdi and La Gioconda by Ponchielli. He translated into Italian the librettos of Glinka’s opera Ruslan and Liudmila and Wagner’s operas Tristan and Isolde and Rienzi, as well as the words to A. G. Rubinstein’s art songs and other works.

REFERENCES

Engel’, Iu. V opere: Sb. statei ob operakh i baletakh. Moscow, 1911.
Pompeati, A.Arrigo Boito. Florence, [1919].
Vajro, M. A. Boito. Brescia, 1955.
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