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Montemezzi, Italo

(May 31, 1875 - May 15, 1952)

Italo Montemezzi was born on 31st May 1875 in Vigasio in the province of Verona.
In 1900 he obtained a 1st class honours diploma in composition at the Conservatory of Milan with a cantata for soprano, mezzo-soprano, choir and orchestra on the text of the Cantico dei Cantici. The piece was performed at the conservatory that same year under the direction of Arturo Toscanini.

Montemezzi began to enjoy a degree of notoriety with his opera Giovanni Gallurese (written in 1905), but it was with L'Amore dei tre re (1913), on a libretto by Sem Benelli, that he really achieved success on the international scene not least in the United States. Here, where the composer lived from 1939 to 1949, the opera was performed many times.

In 1918 he wrote La nave, on a subject by Gabriele D’Annunzio. This opera too was a great success. In 1931 he composed La Notte di Zoraima, while his last opera, L’Incantesimo, on a libretto by Sem Benelli, was written in 1933 and broadcast in 1943 at NBC (New York). The staged opera premiere took place in Verona (August 1952) only a few months after his death.

Montemezzi was essentially a composer of opera but his musical production also extended to a number of symphonic works including the poema Paolo e Virginia, written in 1929.

The composer died in Vigasio on 15th May 1952.