Italian-born US composer. He created small-scale realist operas in tonal idiom, including The Medium (1946), The Telephone (1947), The Consul (1950; Pulitzer Prize), Amahl and the Night Visitors (1951; the first opera to be written for television), and The Saint of Bleecker Street (1954; Pulitzer Prize). He also wrote orchestral and chamber music.
Later operas include Goya (1986), written for Placido Domingo, and The Singing Child (1993). Menotti's later vocal works include Jacob's Prayer (1997); Gloria, written as part of a composite Mass celebrating the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize; For the Death of Orpheus (1990), and Llama de Amor Viva (1991).
Menotti was born in Cadegliano, Italy. He went to Philadelphia in 1928 and studied with Rosario Scalero at the Curtis Institute there. He wrote libretti for his own operas and for Barber's Vanessa and A Hand of Bridge. His first great success was The Medium (1946), a sensational one-act opera, followed by the one-act comedy The Telephone (1947); but most striking of all, if musically no more refined, was the full-length The Consul, produced in New York in 1950 and in London in 1951. It won the Pulitzer Prize and the New York Drama Critics Circle award as the best musical play of the year in 1954. In 1958 he founded the Festival of Two Worlds at Spoleto, Italy. In 1977 Spoleto USA was founded in Charleston, South Carolina, which Menotti led until 1993 when he became director of the Rome Opera. In his operas he attempted to introduce some popular elements, including values derived from the Broadway musical.
WorksOperaAmelia goes to the Ball (1937), The Telephone, The Medium (1946), The Consul (1950), Amahl and the Night Visitors (1951), The Saint of Bleecker Street (1954), Maria Golovin (1958), Le dernier sauvage (1963), Martin's Lie (1964), Help, Help, the Globolinks! (1968), The Hero (1976), The Most Important Man (1971), Tamu-Tamu (1973), La Loca (1979), A Bride from Pluto (1982), Goya (1986), The Wedding (1988), The Singing Child (1993); radio opera The Old Maid and the Thief (1939).
Other symphonic poem Apocalypse (1951); Pastorale for piano and string orchestra, two piano concertos, violin concerto (1952); four pieces for string quartet, Trio for a Housewarming Party for flute, cello, and piano; Poemetti, piano pieces for children; pieces for carillon; symphony The Halcyon (1976);
Vocal workJacob's Prayer (1997).
Menotti, Gian Carlo