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Aulicus Classics Club Episode Four: Franco Alfano

15 Jun 2023

Aulicius Classics Club is a video series created by esteemed Italian music publisher Romano Di Bari and composer/arranger/conductor Stefano Torossi, with a sole purpose of putting a spotlight on the lives of legendary composers and their works. In this fourth episode they will discuss the work of Franco Alfano performed by Orazio Maione for Aulicus Classics. 

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About Romano Di Bari 

Italian producer and CEO at label Aulicus Classics 
Romano Di Bari founded Flipper Srl Edizioni Musicali in 1972 after having developed his expertise with RCA and later with Ariston during the 60s. 

About Franco Alfano 

  • Franco Alfano was an Italian composer and pianist, born on March 8, 1875, in Posillipo, Italy, and died on October 27, 1954, in San Remo, Italy. 
  • Alfano is best known for completing Giacomo Puccini's final opera, "Turandot," after Puccini's death in 1924. He was chosen by Puccini's publisher and widow to finish the unfinished opera, composing the final duet, and orchestrating the remaining sketches left by Puccini. This completion allowed "Turandot" to be performed and has become the most famous version of the opera. 
  • Despite gaining recognition for completing "Turandot," Alfano had his own successful career as a composer. He wrote numerous operas, orchestral works, chamber music, and vocal compositions. Some of his notable works include the operas "Risurrezione" and "Cyrano de Bergerac." 
  • Alfano's musical style can be described as late Romantic, influenced by the works of Puccini, Richard Wagner, and Claude Debussy. His compositions often feature lush harmonies, lyrical melodies, and dramatic flair. 
  • Apart from his work as a composer, Alfano was also a respected pianist and taught piano at the conservatories of Naples and Bologna. He was known for his virtuosic piano performances and often incorporated his own compositions into his recitals. 
  • During his lifetime, Alfano received several prestigious awards for his contributions to music. In 1939, he was awarded the Légion d'honneur by the French government, and in 1950, he received the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. 
  • Alfano's career suffered during the rise of the fascist regime in Italy under Benito Mussolini. His music was deemed "decadent" by the government, and he was marginalized. Despite these challenges, he continued to compose and perform, albeit with fewer opportunities for public recognition. 
  • In addition to his operatic and symphonic works, Alfano composed extensively for the piano. He wrote several sets of piano variations, character pieces, and a piano concerto. His piano music highlights his technical prowess and expressive depth. 
  • Alfano's compositions fell out of favor after his death, and for many years, his music was rarely performed or recorded. However, there has been a revival of interest in his works in recent years, and recordings of his operas and other compositions have gained some recognition. 
  • Today, Alfano is remembered as a significant figure in Italian music, particularly for his completion of Puccini's "Turandot." His contributions to the operatic repertoire and his own compositions are explored and appreciated by musicians and audiences.