Franco Alfano

Franco Alfano ( born March 8, 1876 in Posillipo, near Naples, † October 27, 1954 in San Remo ) was an Italian composer of the late verismo. His best known work is the opera Risurrezione ( resurrection, according to Tolstoy's novel ).


Alfano studied piano privately with Alessandro Longo (1864-1945) in Naples, then went to the local Conservatorio di San Pietro a Majella, where he studied harmony and composition with Camillo de Nardis (1857-1951) and Paolo Serrao (1830-1907). From 1895 he studied composition with Hans Sitt ( 1850-1922 ) and Salomon Jadassohn ( 1831-1902 ) at the Conservatory in Leipzig. In Leipzig he met his idol Edvard Grieg and composed several piano and orchestral works.

In 1896 he began a career as a pianist in Berlin. There he also composed a first opera Miranda, which remained unpublished until today, to a libretto by Antonio Fogazzaro. His second opera, La Fonte di Enschir ( libretto by Luigi Illica ), not accepted by the publisher Ricordi, was premiered in 1898 in Breslau as the source of Enschir without success. In 1900 he wrote in Paris ballets for the Folies Bergère. A short time later he went to Moscow, where he composed his most famous opera Risurrezione (after Tolstoy's novel Resurrection). With the premiere of this opera on 30 November 1904 in Turin Alfano was shot to fame; the opera began a world-wide success through numerous opera houses ( up to a performance in New York 1977).

1914 Alfano went back to Italy. There he held various professorships in composition (eg since 1918 in Bologna) and held important posts of Italian musical life: 1923 to 1939 he was director of the Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi in Turin, from 1940 to 1942 director of the Teatro Massimo in Palermo, 1942-1947 opera director the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, and from 1947 to 1950 director of the Conservatorio Rossini in Pesaro.

In addition to these activities continue Alfano composed numerous operas were premiered at the major opera houses of Italy.

After Giacomo Puccini in 1924 his opera Turandot left unfinished, suggested a friend of Puccini conductor Arturo Toscanini Alfano prior to the completion of the final, which has so far existed only sketches. The actual premiere of the opera ended Toscanini still with silence in remembrance of the place, had to stop at the Puccini composition. In the following performances by Toscanini a radically shortened version of the composed by Alfano finale was played. In this shortened form of the work went - despite some criticism of the dramatic structure of the finale, and quality and gesture of the music - around the world and is expected to be up today Alfano most played composition. Alfano finale, however, was always listed completely. Many critics saw it as a vindication, because the final as compared to the abridged version won in dramatic effect and musical unity.

Since 1914, Alfano lived in San Remo, where he died in 1954.


Alfano style is rooted in the Italian verismo, but also shows more modern elements and influences of contemporary composers such as Claude Debussy, Richard Strauss and Rimsky -Korsakov.

  • Ballets Lorenza (Paris, Folies -Bergère, 1901)
  • Napoli (Paris, Folies -Bergère, 1901)
  • Vesuvius
  • Miranda
  • La fonte di Enschir (Eng. At the sources of Enschir, Breslau 1898)
  • Risurrezione (after Tolstoy, dt resurrection, Turin 1904)
  • Il principe di Zilah (Genoa, 1909)
  • L' ombra di Don Giovanni (Eng. The shadow of Don Giovanni, Milan 1914)
  • La leggenda di Sakuntala (after Kalidasa, Bologna 1921)
  • Finale to Puccini's Turandot ( Milan 1926)
  • Madonna Imperia ( based on a story from Balzac's Toll Dreisten stories, Turin 1927)
  • L'ultimo Lord (Naples 1930)
  • Cyrano de Bergerac ( by Rostand, Rome 1936)
  • Il dottor Antonio ( Rome 1949)
  • Sakuntala (Rome 1952). Libretto: Franco Alfano. - La leggenda di Sakuntala reworking of, the manuscript of which was allegedly destroyed in the Second World War, was named after the retrieval in the publishing archive but brought in 2006 by the Rome Opera under Gianluigi Gelmetti again for performance
  • I cavalieri e la bella (unfinished)
  • Symphony No. 1 in E Classica ( 1910/1953 )
  • Symphony No. 2 in C ( 1931/1932 )