Ruggiero Leoncavallo

Also found in: Dictionary.

Leoncavallo, Ruggiero

(ro͞od-jā`rō lā'ōnkäväl`lō), 1857–1919, Italian composer. The opera Pagliacci (1892), his one outstanding success, is a classic example of Italian verismo, or realism. Of his numerous other operas, only Zazà (1900) had moderate success.

Leoncavallo, Ruggiero


Born Apr. 25, 1857 (according to recent corrected data), in Naples; died Aug. 9, 1919, in Montecatini. Italian composer.

Leoncavallo studied at the Naples Conservatory with L. Rossi (composition) and B. Cesi (piano) and graduated from the University of Bologna (department of literature) in 1878.

Leoncavallo was one of the founders of the verismo school in opera. He wrote approximately 20 operas, of which the most popular was I Pagliacci (1892, libretto by Leoncavallo, presented at the Teatro dal Verme in Milan). I Pagliacci, like Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana, is a vivid example of verismo opera with its true-to-life subject, intensely developed dramatic conflict, striking stage situations, melodramatic effects, and emphatically expressive musical language. His operas La Bohème (1897; presented in Russia as Life in the Latin Quarter) and Zazà (1900) were also highly successful.

Leoncavallo also wrote works in other genres—for example, the operetta Queen of the Roses (1912), the ballet Life of a Marionette, art songs, and piano pieces.


Toradze, G. R. Leonkavallo i ego opera “Paiatsy.” Moscow, 1960.
Colombani, A. L’Opera italiana nel secolo XIX. Milan, 1900.
Klein, J. W. “R. Leoncavallo.” Opera, London, March-April 1958.


Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
Hair" follows the signature "waves" of XM's logo on a journey across the XM music dial, with music from Johnny Cash, punk band The Circle Jerks, Beethoven, 80's group Flock of Seagulls, Snoop Dogg and classical opera composer Ruggiero Leoncavallo.
To the colony in the Monte Verit[acute{a}] park, centred around the distinctive wooden flat-roofed Casa Anatta (now a museum to the movement and open in summer) flocked a few anarchists and thousands of free thinkers, including the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, the Italian composer Ruggiero Leoncavallo, the American dancer Isadora Duncan and even Lenin.