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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.
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.
REFERENCESToradze, 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.
T. G. KELDYSH