Azio Corghi was born in Cirié, in the province of Torino, in 1937 (March 9).
Until 1950 he divided his studies between painting and music. In 1956 he enrolled at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Torino, where studied piano and graduated under Mario Zanfi. In 1962 he moved on to the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Milano, where he studied composition under Bruno Bettinelli, choral music under Amerigo Bortone, conducting under Antonino Votto, and polyphonic vocal composition under Guido Farina. In 1967 Corghi won the Ricordi-Rai Competition with Intavolature, for orchestra, which was performed at Teatro La Fenice in Venice. That same year he began teaching at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Torino. He would go on to teach at the conservatories in Milano and Parma, as well as at the Chigiana Music Academy in Siena, the Santa Cecilia National Academy in Rome, the Perosi Academy in Biella, and at the Bologna Philharmonic. In 1973 he wrote a critique of Rossini’s L’italiana in Algeri
, published by the Rossini Foundation of Pesaro and Casa Ricordi.
The 1989-90 season saw his opera Blimunda
performed at La Scala, with book by Corghi and José Saramago. In 1991 a jury headed by Goffredo Petrassi presented him with the Massimo Mila Award for his dedication to teaching. In 1992, in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Rossini, Corghi composed Suite dodo
, inspired by Rossini’s Péchés de vieillesse; also in 1992, the ballet Un petit train de plaisir was performed at Teatro Rossini in Pesaro, and broadcast live on satellite TV. On October 31, 1993, Corghi’s musical drama Divara – Water and Blood
, with book by Corghi and José Saramago, was performed at Städtische Bühnen, in Münster, Germany. In 1994 Corghi became a Fellow of the Santa Cecilia National Academy in Rome. In 1997 the Umberto Micheli International Piano Competition commissioned Corghi to compose the concert étude “... ça ira!”
In the same year, for the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Gaetano Donizetti, Corghi transcribed several ariettas from Nuits d’été à Pausilippe
In 1999 he was commissioned by La Scala to write the opera Tatyana, based on the Anton Chekhov play Tatyana Repina. In 2000 he resumed work on the composition of Amori incrociati from Aldo Busi’s version of Decameron, for the Rai National Symphony Orchestra. In 2001 he wrote Cruci-Verba
for the Städtische Bühnen Münster, which combined readings from and comment on José Saramago’s "The Gospel According to Jesus Christ", accompanied by Liszt’s Via Crucis. In 2001 Corghi composed “… malinconia, ninfa gentile”
for the 200th anniversary of the birth of Vincenzo Bellini, commissioned by Teatro Massimo “Bellini”, in Catania, Sicily. He was commissioned by the Santa Cecilia National Academy to compose De paz e de guerra, once again with book by Saramago, in 2002. That same year he composed the opera Senja
, based on Chekhov’s On the High Road, once again for the Städtische Bühnen Münster. On July 8, 2004 he presented ¿Pia?
, a music-and-drama dialogue inspired by Marguerite Yourcenar’s Le Dialogue dans le Marécage, at Teatro dei Rozzi in Siena, commissioned by the Chigiana Music Academy.
In 2005 Corghi wrote Il dissoluto assolto
, a one-act musical with book by the composer and Saramago, which was co-produced by Teatro San Carlos in Lisbon and La Scala. For the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra, Corghi composed Poema Sinfonico
, which premiered on January 29, 2007. In celebration of the 500th anniversary of the birth of Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, in 2008 Corghi was commissioned by Ensemble Punto It to compose the opera Giocasta
. It is based on Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, with book by Maddalena Mazzocut-Mis. Another operatic version of the famed tragedy, with music by Andrea Gabrieli, was performed at the inauguration of Vicenza’s Teatro Olimpico, which was designed by Palladio, in 1585 – and Giocasta
was performed at the same venue on June 19, 2009. In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi, Corghi’s Madreterra
, featuring a “sacred dialogue” between Verdi and Pasolini, was performed at Parma’s Teatro Regio on October 9, 2013.
The following year, Corghi wrote Blanquette
, for spoken voice and chamber orchestra, with selections from Alphonse Daudet’s short story "La Chèvre de Monsieur Seguin", commissioned by the Chigiana Music Academy. It was premiered on July 10, 2014, when it opened the 71st edition of Settimana Musicale Senese in Siena. To mark the forty years since the passing of Pier Paolo Pasolini, Teatro Comunale Giuseppe Verdi, in Pordenone, commissioned Corghi to write Tra la carne e il cielo
, based on writings by Pasolini, with book by Maddalena Mazzocut-Mis. It premiered on November 2, 2015.
Recent compositions by Azio Corghi include Arie virtuose
, for bassoon and string orchestra (a “contemporary reinterpretation” of music from operas by Antonio Vivaldi); and L’eco di un fantasma
, for female narrator, choir and orchestra, based on a text by Maddalena Mazzacut-Mis. Both the works were premiered in 2017.
Photo: Roberto Masotti