Schira, Francesco



Italian composer and teacher of singing; born at Malta and descended from a family of Milanese origin, but who resided for a greater part of his life in London, and there was highly esteemed as a teacher. He studied counterpoint at the Milan Conservatory with Easily till 1832. Was conductor of the Theatre of Santo Carlos, Lisbon, and professor of music at the Conservatory there, but removed to Paris in 1842. Later he went to London, where he was successively conductor at the Princess and Drury Lane Theatres and at Covent Garden, and also taught singing. In London Schira wrote and produced a large number of operas and also composed much vocal and chamber-music and many pieces for the organ. Of his operas, Elena e Malvina; I cavalieri di Valenza; Mina; Nicolo; Theresa; and The Orphan of Geneva may be mentioned. His cantata, The Lord of Burleigh, was given at the Birmingham Festival in 1873 and was a success. He also wrote an operetta, The Earring. As a composer Schira was reckoned among the composers of the genuine Italian type and as a teacher ranked exceedingly high. He was made an officer of the Crown of Italy, this honor being conferred upon him by the late King Humbert.