Mancinelli, Luigi



One of the most popular and successful of modern opera conductors. Was born at Orvieto, in the Papal States, Italy. Although his father intended him for a commercial career, he taught him piano when he was only about six years old. By the time he was twelve his love of music had developed to such an extent that he went to Florence to study with Professor Sbolci, a celebrated violoncellist, and to take counterpoint and harmony for a short time of Mabelli. This was the only musical schooling he ever had, although he educated himself further by careful study of the compositions of the masters. When he was about fifteen years old he became third violoncellist at the Pergola Theatre in Florence, and for about eight years supported himself by playing, teaching and composing songs. He then went to Rome as violoncellist at the Apollo Theatre, and, when this theatre was unexpectedly bereft of its conductor in 1875, he was given the position, which he filled satisfactorily. In 1876 he was musical director of the fetes in honor of Spontini's Centenary at Jesi, and revived that master's Le Vestale with such success that he was re-engaged as conductor of the Apollo Theatre. During this year his first composition appeared, an intermezzo to Pietro Cossa's Messalina, and in 1877 he wrote an intermezzo to the drama, Cleopatra, by the same author. In 1881 he went to Bologna, where as director of the Conservatory he had great influence, improving that institution until it became one of the best musical schools of Italy. He also held the position of conductor at historic San Petronio, Basilica, and at the Teatro Comunale. In 1884 he produced his first opera, Isora di Provenza, which was well received. In 1886 he decided to try his fortune in London, where he gave a concert of classical music, interspersed with a few of his own compositions, which was such a success that he was asked to compose an oratorio for the Norwich Festival, and wrote Isaias, which was well received. In 1887 Sir Augustus Harris engaged him to conduct Italian Opera at Drury Lane, when he embarked on that enterprise, which not only introduced Mancmelli to the British public as a first-rate conductor but was the beginning of Jean de Reszke's immense popularity as a tenor. The following year Harris engaged Covent Garden Theatre, and Mancinelli conducted a company which included both De Reszkes, Melba, Nordica and Lasalle. He was also conductor for Harris Italian Opera Company in New York. From 1888 to 1895 he was conductor of the Royal Theatre at Madrid, returning to England every year for the season at Covent Garden, where he may still be found. His compositions include the operas, Isora di. Provenza, and Ero e Leandro; the oratorio, Isaias; several orchestral suites; and masses.