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Encyclopedia > Riccardo Drigo
Riccardo Drigo, Circa 1900
Riccardo Drigo, Circa 1900

Riccardo Eugenio Drigo (June 30, 1846 - October 1, 1930) was an Italian composer and conductor who spent many years working with the Saint Petersburg Imperial Ballet and Imperial Opera. Image File history File links RiccardoDrigo. ... Image File history File links RiccardoDrigo. ... June 30 is the 181st day of the year (182nd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 184 days remaining. ... 1846 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... October 1 is the 274th day of the year (275th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1930 (MCMXXX) is a common year starting on Wednesday. ... A composer is a person who writes music. ... See Conductor for other possible uses of the word. ... Saint Petersburg (Russian: Санкт-Петербу́рг, English transliteration: Sankt-Peterburg), colloquially known as Питер (transliterated Piter), formerly known as Leningrad (Ленингра́д, 1924–1991) and Petrograd (Петрогра́д, 1914–1924), is a city located in Northwestern Russia on the delta of the river Neva at the east end of the Gulf of Finland... Carlotta Brianza and Paul Gerdt of the Imperial Ballet as Princess Aurora and Prince Desire in the 1890 premiere of the Sleeping Beauty. ...

Contents


Life

Born in Padua, Italy, he studied music in his hometown and at the Venice Conservatory. He attained some local celebrity as a composer and conductor, then moved to Russia in 1878, where he was soon appointed the conductor of the St. Petersburg Italian Opera. After considerable success there, he became Chief Conductor of ballet performances and resident composer to the Imperial Ballet (though unlike Léon Minkus or Cesare Pugni, he never held an official post), where he created many of the works he is best known for. Location within Italy Tronco Maestro Riviera: a pedestrian walk along a section of the inland waterway or naviglio interno of Padua The city of Padua (Lat. ... Saint Petersburg (Russian: Санкт-Петербу́рг, English transliteration: Sankt-Peterburg), colloquially known as Питер (transliterated Piter), formerly known as Leningrad (Ленингра́д, 1924–1991) and Petrograd (Петрогра́д, 1914–1924), is a city located in Northwestern Russia on the delta of the river Neva at the east end of the Gulf of Finland... Italian opera can be divided into three periods, the Baroque, the Romantic and the modern. ... Carlotta Brianza and Paul Gerdt of the Imperial Ballet as Princess Aurora and Prince Desire in the 1890 premiere of the Sleeping Beauty. ... Léon Minkus Léon Fedorovich Minkus (born Ludwig Aloisius Minkus March 23, 1826, Grossmeseritsch (Czech Velké Meziříčí), near Brünn (Czech Brno), Austria-Hungary - 1917, Vienna) was the most popular and performed Ballet Composer of the 19th century. ... Cesare Pugni (31 May 1802, Genoa — 26 January 1870, Saint Petersburg) was an Italian composer of ballet music, Bel canto Opera, and various orchestra pieces, most noted for the ballet music he scored in London, Paris, and St. ...


During the late 1910s and early 1920s Drigo served as musical director on the tours of the legendary Ballerina Anna Pavlova. Drigo returned to his native Padua in 1927, where he died in 1930. Photographic postcard of Anna Pavlova as Aspicia in The Pharoahs Daughter, circa 1910 Anna Pavlova as Nikiya in the Grand Pas Classique of the Shades from Act III of La Bayadere, circa 1902 Anna Pavlova is also the name of an Olympic gymnast. ...


Drigo conducted the premieres of Tchaikovsky's ballets Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker, and Glazunov's Raymonda, as well as the premieres of Tchaikovsky's 1890 opera The Queen of Spades, and his 1892 opera Iolanthe, which premiered alongside The Nutcracker. He also made modifications to scores, including Swan Lake, for performance, some of which are in use to this day. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Пётр Ильи́ч Чайкóвский, sometimes transliterated as Piotr Ilitsch Tschaikowsky, Anglicised as Peter Ilich), (7 May [O.S. 25 April] 1840 – 6 November [O.S. 25 October] 1893) was a Russian composer of the Romantic era. ... Sir Edward Burne-Jones painted The Sleeping Beauty. ... A performance of The Nutcracker The story of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King was written by E. T. A. Hoffmann (1816). ... Alexander Konstantinovich Glazounov (or Glazunov or Glazunow) (August 10, 1865 – March 21, 1936) was a major Russian composer, as well as an influential music teacher. ... Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Пётр Ильи́ч Чайкóвский, sometimes transliterated as Piotr Ilitsch Tschaikowsky, Anglicised as Peter Ilich), (7 May [O.S. 25 April] 1840 – 6 November [O.S. 25 October] 1893) was a Russian composer of the Romantic era. ... The foyer of Charles Garniers Opéra, Paris, opened 1875 Opera refers to a dramatic art form, originating in Europe, in which the emotional content or primary entertainment is conveyed to the audience as much through music, both vocal and instrumental, as it is through the lyrics. ... The Queen of Spades (Пиковая дама in Russian, Pikovaya dama in transliteration) is an opera in three acts by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky to a Russian libretto by the composers brother Modest Tchaikovsky, based on a short story by the poet Aleksandr Pushkin. ... Iolanthe, or The Peer and the Peri, is a comic Gilbert and Sullivan operetta in two acts. ... // Swan Lake (Russian: Лебединое Озеро) is one of the most famous and critically-acclaimed ballets, with music by Tchaikovsky (opus 20). ...


In modern times Drigo has been characterized by his critics with composers such as Léon Minkus and Cesare Pugni as a 'hack' composer, and is largely unknown by the general public. However, during the 1890s, when ballet music was taking on a major transformation with the likes of Glazunov and Tchaikovsky, Drigo's ballets were staged along side them and were able to hold their own in critical and audience response, being noted for their beautiful dansante music with melodic charm, rhythmic verve, and harmonic color. His other compositions range far beyond simply creating state music. The music of his works, a few of which have been recorded in recent years by Richard Bonynge. Léon Minkus Léon Fedorovich Minkus (born Ludwig Aloisius Minkus March 23, 1826, Grossmeseritsch (Czech Velké Meziříčí), near Brünn (Czech Brno), Austria-Hungary - 1917, Vienna) was the most popular and performed Ballet Composer of the 19th century. ... Cesare Pugni (31 May 1802, Genoa — 26 January 1870, Saint Petersburg) was an Italian composer of ballet music, Bel canto Opera, and various orchestra pieces, most noted for the ballet music he scored in London, Paris, and St. ... Alexander Konstantinovich Glazounov (or Glazunov or Glazunow) (August 10, 1865 – March 21, 1936) was a major Russian composer, as well as an influential music teacher. ... Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Пётр Ильи́ч Чайкóвский, sometimes transliterated as Piotr Ilitsch Tschaikowsky, Anglicised as Peter Ilich), (7 May [O.S. 25 April] 1840 – 6 November [O.S. 25 October] 1893) was a Russian composer of the Romantic era. ... Richard Bonynge (born September 29, 1930) is an Australian conductor. ...


Some Facts

  • Extracts from Drigo's 1900 ballet Les Millions d'Arlequin ('Serenade' and 'Valse Bluette') are today major cornerstones of the Salon repertory, and are often heard in soloist instrumental performance, as well as opera.
  • In March of 1997, in celebration of Drigo's 150th birthday, the Arena Ballet of Drigo's native Padua, Italy, restaged his 1889 ballet The Talisman, with the great Ballerina Alessandra Ferri in the lead role of Niriti. As well a conference was held on the composer.
  • Drigo's Grand Pas de Deux from Marius Petipa's 1899 revival of the ballet Le Corsaire, which he wrote especially for the ballerina Pierina Legnani is still performed by ballet companies all over the world, and is perhaps the most famous Pas de Deux in all of ballet. (In Drigo's memoirs he noted that this Pas de Deux was composed for free!)
  • The great dancers of the Imperial Ballet Sergei Legat and his brother Nikolai Legat staged the composer Joseph Bayer's 1888 ballet The Fairy Doll (or Die Puppenfee) in 1903. For the great Ballerina Mathilde Kchessinska who danced the lead, they interpolated the Grand Pas de Trois from Drigo's 1900 ballet Les Millions d'Arlequin, which is still often danced as "The Fairy Doll Pas de Trois".

Logo of the New York City Ballet The New York City Ballet is a ballet company founded in 1948 by choreographer George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein originally known as the American Ballet. ... See also Commedia dellarte // History of the Harlequinade The harlequinade is a type of theatrical performance piece, usually a slapstick adaptation of the Commedia dellarte, performed by actors which dates back to England in the mid 18th century. ... George Balanchine (January 9 (O.S.) = January 22 (N.S.), 1904–April 30, 1983) was one of the 20th centurys foremost choreographers, and one of the founders of American ballet. ... Location within Italy Tronco Maestro Riviera: a pedestrian walk along a section of the inland waterway or naviglio interno of Padua The city of Padua (Lat. ... The Talisman is a novel by Sir Walter Scott. ... Marius Petipa, Circa 1890 Marius Petipa (11 March 1818 – 14 July 1910) - Unrivaled ballet master of the Tsars Imperial Ballet of St. ... Le Corsaire, (The Pirate), is a ballet in 3 acts choreographed by Konstantin Sergeyev to music by Adolphe Adam , Cesare Pugni, Léo Delibes, Riccardo Drigo and Prince Oldenbourg. ... Pierina Legnani (1863-1923) was an Italian ballerina responsible for the inclusion of 32 consecutive fouettés en tournant en pointe to the ballet Swan Lake. ... Pas de deux is also a dressage preformance using two horses. ... Pas de deux is also a dressage preformance using two horses. ... Die Zauberflöte (en: The Magic Flute) is an opera in two acts composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to a German libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder. ... Peter Martins (October 27, 1946 - ) is a Danish ballet dancer and choreographer. ... Logo of the New York City Ballet The New York City Ballet is a ballet company founded in 1948 by choreographer George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein originally known as the American Ballet. ... Carlotta Brianza and Paul Gerdt of the Imperial Ballet as Princess Aurora and Prince Desire in the 1890 premiere of the Sleeping Beauty. ... Mathilde Kschessinska (Polish: Matylda KrzesiÅ„ska, 1872-1971), also known as Her Serene Highness Princess Romanova-Krasinskaya since 1921, was the second prima ballerina assoluta in the world. ...

The Works of Riccardo Drigo

These ballet were all created for the Imperial Ballet and premiered at the Imperial Mariinksy Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. The Mariinsky Ballet is one of the most famous ballet schools in history (formerly the Kirov Ballet, and also the Academic State Theatre), located in St. ... View of the Mariinsky Theatre in the 1890ies The Mariinsky Theatre, known as the Kirov Opera and Ballet Theatre in 1934-92, is a historic theatre of opera and ballet in St Petersburg. ... Saint Petersburg  listen (Russian: Санкт-Петербу́рг, English transliteration: Sankt-Peterburg), colloquially known as Питер (transliterated Piter), formerly known as Leningrad (Ленингра́д, 1924–1991) and Petrograd (Петрогра́д, 1914–1924), is a city located in Northwestern Russia on the delta of the river Neva at the east end of the Gulf of...

  • The Enchanted Forest 1887
  • The Talisman 1889
  • The Magic Flute 1893
  • The Awakening of Flora or Le Reveil du Flore 1894
  • The Pearl 1898
  • Les Millions d'Arlequin or Harlequin's Millions or Harlequinade 1900
  • The Romance of the Rosebud and the Butterfly 1904 (never premiered)

The Talisman is a novel by Sir Walter Scott. ... Die Zauberflöte (en: The Magic Flute) is an opera in two acts composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to a German libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder. ... Pearl may mean several different things: pearl, a round shiny object produced by molluscs and used in jewelry a whitish iridescent color similar to the color of pearls The Hymn of the Pearl, a passage of the apocryphal Acts of Thomas The Pearl, a book by John Steinbeck and the... See also Commedia dellarte // History of the Harlequinade The harlequinade is a type of theatrical performance piece, usually a slapstick adaptation of the Commedia dellarte, performed by actors which dates back to England in the mid 18th century. ...

Notable Operas

  • The Kidnapped Moglie (1884, mounted in St. Petersburg)
  • Côte of Azur (1895, mounted in Mount Carl)
  • Flaffy Raffles (1890, mounted in Moscow)
  • The Garofano White Man (1929, mounted in Padua) (Drigo's last work)

Saint Petersburg (Russian: Санкт-Петербу́рг, English transliteration: Sankt-Peterburg), colloquially known as Питер (transliterated Piter), formerly known as Leningrad (Ленингра́д, 1924–1991) and Petrograd (Петрогра́д, 1914–1924), is a city located in Northwestern Russia on the delta of the river Neva at the east end of the Gulf of Finland... Moscow (Russian: Москва́, Moskva, IPA: ) is the capital of Russia and the countrys principal political, economic, financial, educational and transportation center, located on the river Moskva. ... Location within Italy Tronco Maestro Riviera: a pedestrian walk along a section of the inland waterway or naviglio interno of Padua The city of Padua (Lat. ...

Other Work for the Ballet

  • In 1890, at the behest of the Ballet Master Marius Petipa, Drigo made modifications to the score of Tchaikovsky for the premiere of The Sleeping Beauty. The composer made minor changes all through Tchaikovsky's score. Drigo also added 4 bars of music to no. 15 of the score (this addition occurs at the end of the Waltz in no.15 - the Pas d'Action of Tchaikovsky's score, during the so-called 'Vision Scene' of Act II. The number takes place after the Adagio for Aurora and Prince Desiré: a Waltz for the Corps de Ballet which precedes 'Aurora's Variation'. This came about because Marius Petipa decided to delete the variation Tchaikovsky had originally scored for Aurora during this scene, and instead placed the music of Variation I from no. 23 in the score (the music of the Gold Fairy), as he felt that piece of music better suited the Ballerina Carlotta Brianza, the first Aurora. Since the preceding number lead right into the variation that was originally composed, a key-change was warranted, thus the addition of 4 bars of music to lead into the supplemental variation. This addition is only intact in the 'performance score'). As well, Drigo extended the harp arpeggios for the Rose Adagio (no. 8 in the score) as well as Aurora and Prince Desiré's Adagio during the "Vision Scene" (no. 15 in the score). This version of the music is perfomed by many ballet companies today, though there are those that opt to use Tchaikovsky's original un-changed score. In 1999, the Kirov Ballet (the former Imperial Ballet) reconstructed the original 1890 staging of The Sleeping Beauty.
  • In 1892, Drigo revised the score of Fillipo Taglioni's 1832 ballet La Sylphide for Marius Petipa's revival. The original score was by the composer Jean Schnietzhoeffer. A variation composed by Drigo that was added to the ballet for the Ballerina Vavara Nikitina was later extracted by the legendary Ballerina Anna Pavlova into the famous Grand Pas Classique of the ballet Paquita during the early 1910s. This music, with its famous solo for harp, is still retained in the Paquita Grand Pas Classique to this day, and is traditionally danced by the lead Ballerina of the pas. This music is almost always attributed to Léon Minkus, as he was the original composer of the Paquita Grand Pas Classique.
  • In 1895 Drigo revised the score of Tchaikovksy's 1877 ballet Swan Lake for the definitive revival of Marius Petipa and his assistant Lev Ivanov. This version of the music, better known as the 'performance score' is still used by almost all ballet companies today when performing Swan Lake. For the 1895 revial of Swan Lake Drgio edited the score as required, adjusted Tchaikovsky's original orchestration, and also arranged numbers from Tchaikovsky's Op.72 for piano to be interpolated into various scenes of the ballet (No. 12 L'Espiegle was fashioned into the 'Variation of Odile' of the 'Black Swan Pas de Deux', No.11 Valse Bluette was fashioned into the 'Waltz of the Swans' for the final Act, and No.15 Un Poco di Chopin was fashioned into a Pas de Deux for the Odette and Siegfried for the final Act). Drigo also modified the the Adagio or 'Love-Duet (5 of no.13 in Tchaikovsky's original score) from Act II of Swan Lake, for which he extended the opening harp arpeggios, and most importantly omitted Tchaikovsky's original allegro ending for a tacked on epilogue composed by himself). Likewise, Drigo changed the ending of the Adagio of the so-called 'Black Swan Pas de Deux' (2 of no. 5 in Tchaikovsky's original score), omitting Tchaikovsky's original Allegro ending for a closing epilogue of his own composition. Many still marvel to this day at Drigo's magnificent work on Tchaikovsky's score for Swan Lake, as the numbers he orchestrated for interpolation blend in perfectly, as well as the numbers he modified.
  • In 1899 Drigo composed a Pas de Deux a Trois for Marius Petipa's revival of the ballet Le Corsaire. The pas was written especially for the Prima Ballerina Pierina Legnani, to be added into Act II of the ballet. Overtime the pas came to be performed as a Pas de Deux. It was first staged in the west by the great dancer Rudolf Nureyev, who performed the pas with the great Ballerina Margot Fonteyn. For Nureyev's staging the Drigo music was re-orchestrated by the composer/conductor John Lanchbery, with the original female variation substituted out for a variation by the composer Anton Simon. This variation, often incorrectly credited either to Drigo or to Léon Minkus, was interpolated into the ballet Don Quixote as a solo for the Queen of the Dryads by Alexander Gorsky for his revival of the work in 1900. Today the pas is danced by ballet companies all over the world.
  • In 1903, for the Prima Ballerina Mathilde Kschessinska, Drigo composed 2 additional variations to be added into her performances of Alexander Gorsky's revival of Marius Petipa's ballet Don Quixote. The first is the 'Variation of Kitri with the Fan', with its famous solo for harp, that occurs during the famous Pas de Deux. The second is the 'Variation of Kitri as Dulcinea', which takes place during Don Quixote's so-called 'Dream Scene' in the 'Garden of Dulcinea'. Both of these variations are almost always credited to Léon Minkus, as they turn up in his works. These variations are now included in every production of the ballet around the world.
  • In 1903, Drigo composed new music for Petipa's revival of the ballet Le Roi Candaule (or Tsar Kandavl). Some of this music was utilized in 1935 by Agrippina Vaganova her revival of the ballet La Esmeralda, for a Pas de Deux called Diane and Actèon, first danced by Galina Ulanova and Vakhtang Chabukiani. Today this Pas de Deux is performed by ballet companies all over the world. It is often said that this Pas was orignally composed in 1886 for Petipa's revivl of La Esmeralda, though this is not accurate.

 
 

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