FROM THE OPERA MARUZZA BY PIETRO FLORIDIA,
THE ARIA "DUETTO A SANGIORGIO"
WAS PERFORMED AT CARNEGIE WEILL HALL ON
TUESDAY APRIL 10,2007.
On the occasion of the 2007 Ibla awards presentations at Weill
Recital Hall in New York City, Dr. Salvatore Moltisanti, artistic
director of the international grand prize competition, selected the
performance of an aria from Pietro Floridia's opera "Maruzza".
The aria, called "Duetto a San Giorgio", was performed by Ms. Lisa
Charles,soprano, Ms.Charlotte Paulsen, mezzo soprano and Mr. Alessio
During the performance, the trio exhibited excellent artistic
qualities and overall superb talent.
"Maruzza" is a story staged in Modica, Sicily which is Maestro
Floridia's birth place. It is the love story of Maruzza, a simple,
beautiful young farm worker, and Massaro Giorgio, a very rich land
owner where Maruzza does the lowly work of grain gleaner. It's a
story of LOVE and MALIA which when combined evoke the highest
sentiments of human emotions.
Superstition makes believers of "Malia" a force deemed to be more
powerful than spiritual beliefs. In a sense it is a super religion, a
force of evil spirits that work in opposition to celestial powers.
In the duet, Maruzza invokes the help and intervention of
Saint George, name saint of her lover and patron Saint of Modica, yet
the force of "Malia" is what becomes the invocation of last resort.
And so, the story is immortalized in a musically artistic form by
Maestro Floridia as vivid expression of the memories of his early
years in Modica during the "feudal" era.
Maruzza, for which Floridia also wrote the libretto, had its debut at
the famous Malibran theater in Venice August 23,1894. Subsequently,
it was performed with much success in the major opera houses
throughout Italy and Europe including Zurich, Milan, Turin, Bergamo,
Genoa, Naples and Palermo.
Pietro Floridia (1860-1932) exhibited exceptional musical talent at a
very young age when he began to play the piano during his
convalescence from scarlet fever. His true potential for musical
talent was recognized when he won admission to the prestigious Royal
Conservatory San Pietro Majella in Naples.
There, he studied with Beniamino Cesi, Paolo Serrao and Lauro Rossi.
As a young student he wrote and published several compositions for
piano and at the age of 22 he produced his first opera "Carlotta
Clepier". After the Great success of "Maruzza" he composed "La
Colonia Libera", an opera based on Bret Harte's "M'Liss" with
libretto by Luigi Illica. This opera had its debut in Rome at the
Costanzi theater (now called Teatro Dell'opera) on May 7Th 1899.
Floridia was a contemporary of Leoncavallo, Mascagni and Puccini,and
after the death of Giuseppe Verdi in 1901, he had been selected as
its successor by the house "Ricordi" which at that time controlled
the music world. At this time, however, the relationship with the Ricordis
deteriorated. Mr. Floridia decided to leave Italy never to return
again. He arrived at Ellis Island in New York on April 6Th 1904 and tried to
no avail to penetrate the "controlled" musical world of the Ricordis.
No matter how hard he tried, the bitter relationship with the Ricordis
forbade him from ever performing at the New York Met. For this
reason, in 1906, he decided to take a position as a music professor
at the prestigious Cincinnati College of music. He taught there
between 1906 and 1908 and he established such great reputation as a
Director/Composer that in 1909 he was commissioned to write an Opera
to be performed during the Ohio exposition of 1910.
For the occasion, he wrote the Grand opera (four acts) "Paoletta."
This opera was performed in the 2700 seat Music Hall Theatre in
Cincinnati and was an instant success receiving an unprecedented 48
curtain calls at the end of the first act of its first performance.
Throughout its 29 performances it was attended by many business and
political luminaries including the then President of the United
States William Taft and his predecessor former President Theodore
Maestro Floridia died "of a broken heart" in New York in 1932.
This musical genius, was unjustly withheld from the musical world and
finally after 75 years his music is beginning to receive the
rognition it deserves among the greatest Italian/American composers
of the late 19Th to early 20Th centuries.