Arrigo Boito  
Arrigo Boito
Arrigo Boito (Italian: [arˈriɡo ˈbɔito]; 24 February 1842 ľ 10 June 1918) (whose original name was Enrico Giuseppe Giovanni Boito and who wrote essays under the anagrammatic pseudonym of Tobia Gorrio), was an Italian poet, journalist, novelist, librettist and composer, best known today for his libretti, especially those for Giuseppe Verdi's operas Otello and Falstaff, and his own opera Mefistofele. Along with Emilio Praga, he is regarded as one of the prominent representatives of the Scapigliatura artistic movement.


Born in Padua, the son of Silvestro Boito, an Italian painter of miniatures and his wife, a Polish countess, Jˇzefina Radolińska, Boito studied music at the Milan Conservatory with Alberto Mazzucato until 1861. His older brother, Camillo Boito, was an Italian architect and engineer, and a noted art critic, art historian and novelist.

In 1866 he fought under Giuseppe Garibaldi in the Seven Weeks War in which the Kingdom of Italy and Prussia fought against Austria, after which Venice was ceded to Italy.

Towards the end of his musical career, Boito succeeded Giovanni Bottesini as director of the Parma Conservatory after the latter's death in 1889 and held the post until 1897. He received the honorary degree of doctor of music from the University of Cambridge in 1893, and when he died in Milan, and was interred there in the Cimitero Monumentale. He was an atheist.

A memorial concert was given in his honor at La Scala in 1948. The orchestra was conducted by Arturo Toscanini. Recorded in very primitive sound, the concert has been issued on CD.

Career in music

Boito wrote very little music, but completed (and later destroyed) the opera, Ero e Leandro, and left incomplete a further opera, Nerone, which he had been working at, on and off, between 1877 and 1915. Excluding its last act, for which Boito left only a few sketches, Nerone was finished after his death by Arturo Toscanini and Vincenzo Tommasini and premiered at La Scala, 1924. He also left a Symphony in A minor in manuscript.


His only finished opera, Mefistofele, based on Goethe's Faust, was given its first performance on 5 March 1868, at La Scala, Milan. The premiere, which he conducted himself, was badly received, provoking riots and duels over its supposed "Wagnerism", and it was closed by the police after two performances. Verdi commented, "He aspires to originality but succeeds only at being strange." Boito withdrew the opera from further performances to rework it, and it had a more successful second premiere, in Bologna on 10 April 1875. Boito's revised and drastically- cut version also changed Faust from a baritone to a tenor. Mefistofele is the only work of his performed with any regularity today, and Enrico Caruso included its two tenor arias in his first recording session. The Prologue to the opera, set in Heaven, is a favorite concert excerpt.


Boito's literary powers never dried up. As well as writing the libretti for his own operas, he wrote them for other composers. As "Tobia Gorrio" (an anagram of his name) he provided the libretto for Amilcare Ponchielli's La Gioconda.

Collaboration with Verdi

His rapprochement with Verdi, whom he had offended in a toast to his long-time friend, the composer (and later conductor) Franco Faccio shortly after they had collaborated on Verdi's Inno delle nazioni ("Anthem of the Nations", London, 1862), was effected by the music publisher Giulio Ricordi whose long-term aim was to persuade Verdi to write another opera. Verdi agreed to Boito revising the libretto for the original 1857 Simon Boccanegra, which musicologist Roger Parker speculates was based on a desire to "test the possibility" of working with Boito before possibly embarking on the larger project, which eventually became Otello. The revised Boccanegra premiered to great acclaim in 1881. With that, their mutual friendship and respect blossomed.

Although Verdi's aim to write the music for an opera based on Shakespeare's King Lear never came to fruition (except that a libretto for Lear was written), Boito provided subtle and resonant libretti for Verdi's last masterpieces, Otello in 1887 (which was based on Shakespeare's play Othello) and then Falstaff in 1893, the composer's second comedy, based on The Merry Wives of Windsor and parts of Henry IV. After their years of close association, when Verdi died in 1901, Boito was at his bedside.

Libretti by Boito

The years given are those of the premieres. Boito also provided the text to Verdi's cantata Inno delle Nazioni which was first given on 24 May 1862 at Her Majesty's Theatre, London.

Amleto (Franco Faccio; 1865)
Un tramonto (Gaetano Coronaro; 1873)
La falce (Alfredo Catalani; 1875)
La Gioconda (Amilcare Ponchielli; 1876)
Semira (L. San Germano; never perf.)
Ero e Leandro (Giovanni Bottesini; 1879 - Luigi Mancinelli; 1897)
Simon Boccanegra (Giuseppe Verdi; 1881 [revised version of the 1857 original])
Basi e bote (Riccardo Pick-Mangiagalli; 1927)
Otello (Verdi; 1887)
Falstaff (Verdi; 1893)
Nerone (Boito, unfinished, lacking act V; 1924)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Boito - Mefistofele - Samuel Ramey, Eva Marton, Placido Domingo
Mefistofele. Composer: Arrigo Boito (1842-1918). Performers: Samuel Ramey (Mefistofele), Eva Marton (Margherita/Elena), Placido Domingo (Faust), Sergio Tedesco (Wagner), Tamara Takacs (Marta), Eva Farkas (Pantalis), Antal Pataki (Nereo), the Hungaroton Opera Chorus, the Nyiregyhazi Boys' Choir, the Hungarian State Orchestra, and conductor Giuseppe PatanÚ. Recorded in co-production with Hungaroton at the Italian Institute, Budapest, Hungary, July 2-10, 1988. Enjoy!

Disc One

Prologue in Heaven: 1. Prelude. 2. Ave Signor. 3. Scherzo istrumentale. 4. Ave Signor. 5. T'Ŕ noto Faust? 6. Siam nimbi volanti. 7. Salve Regina!

Act One: 8. PerchÚ di lÓ? 9. Qua il bicchier! 10. Al souave raggiar. 11. Movere a diporto. 12. Sediam sovra quel sasso. 13. Dai campi, dai prati. 14. OlÓ! Chi urla? 15. Son lo Spirito. 16. Strano figlio del Caos. 17. Se tu mi doni un' ora.

Act Two: 18. Cavaliero illustre e saggio. 19. Colma il tuo cor.

Disc Two

Act Two (cont'd): 1. Su, cammina. 2. Folletto! 3. Ascolta. S'agita il bosco. 4. Largo, largo a Mefistofele. 5. Danza di streghe - Popoli! 6. Ecco il mondo. 7. Riddiamo! 8. Ah! Su! Riddiamo.

Act Three: 9. L'altra notte in fondo. 10. Dio di pietÓ. 11. Lontano, lontano, lontano. 12. Sorge il dý! 13. Spunta l'aurora pallida.

Act Four: 14. La luna immobile. 15. Ecco la notte del classico Sabba. 16. Andantino danzante. 17. Ah! Triofini ad Elena. 18. Chi vien? O strana. 19. Forma ideal.

Epilogue: 20. Cammina, cammina. 21. Giunto sul passo estremo. 22. Ecco la nuova turba. 23. Vien! Io distendo questo mantel.

Boito Mefistofele Prologo
Il giorno 17 Luglio, 2009, in Piazza Del Plebiscito di Napoli, i cori e le orchestre del Teatro di San Carlo e dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, rendono omaggio a Giuseppe Verdi con una grande manifestazione musicale sotto la magistrale direzione del Maestro Pappano.

The day 17 July, 2009, in Plaza Of the Plebiscito in Naples, the choirs and the orchestras of the Theater of San Carlo and the National Academy of Sainta Cecilia, make free to Giuseppe Verdi with a great musical demonstration under the magistral direction of the Maestro Pappano.

Eva Marton Boito: Mefistofele L'altra notte
Eva Marton
Boito: Mefistofele
L'altra notte
Budapest Congress Center 1988
Montserrat Caballe "L'altra notte" Mefistofele
JosÚ Collado, conductor. Teatro del Liceo de Barcelona. December 4, 1987
Maria Callas - L'altra notte in fondo al mare (Boito - Mefistofele)
Renata Tebaldi sings "L'altra notte in fondo al mare"
From Arrigo Boito's opera "Mefistofele", Renata Tebaldi performs this aria in a live performance, a concert she gave in Chicago in 1956, along with colleages Giulietta Simionato, Ettore Bastianini and Richard Tucker. Georg Solti conducting.
Arrigo Boito: Mefistofele Finale
Pavarotti- Boito- Mefistofele- Giunto sul passo estremo
From the 1986 25th annivesary tour.
Ecco il mondo - Samuel Ramey (Mefistofele)
Son lo spirito (Mefistofele - Arrigo Boito) Samuel Ramey
Ildebrando D'Arcangelo - Son Lo Spirito Che Nega (Arrigo Boito - Mefistofele)
New Year concert in Wiesbaden, 01.01.2012

Arrigo Boito - Mefistofele - Son Lo Spirito Che Nega
Ildebrando D'Arcangelo
Conductor: JosÚ LuÝs Gˇmez

Ildebrando D'Arcangelo - Ave signor - Mefistofele (Vienna, 2013)
Ildebrando D'Arcangelo performs Mefistofele's "Ave signor" by Boito (complete video)
Red Ribbon Celebration concert
(Wiener Burgtheater, 2013)
SHALYAPIN Son lo spirito, che nega 1926
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