A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Mancinelli, Luigi

1607410A Dictionary of Music and Musicians — Mancinelli, LuigiFrancesco Rizzelli


MANCINELLI, Luigi, born at Orvieto, Feb. 5, 1848. He was six years old when he began to study the piano under the direction of hia father, a distinguished amateur. At the age of 12 he went to Florence to be a pupil of Professor Sbolci, one of the most talented Italian violoncellists. The boy showed great aptitude for the cello, and his progress was very rapid. While studying with Sbolci, he had a short course on harmony and counterpoint from Mabellini. These were the only lessons he ever had; he has acquired his knowledge of composition from the study of the works of the great masters without any guide.

Mancinelli's professional career began in Florence, where he was for a time one of the first cello players in the orchestra of La Pergola. He was engaged in the same capacity at the Apollo in Home in 1874, when this theatre, by unexpected circumstances, was left without a conductor. The impresario Jacovacci, a popular and energetic manager, in order not to stop the performances, thought of trying the ability of his first cello player, of whom he had heard favourable reports; and so Mancinelli was suddenly raised from the ranks to appear as a conductor. 'Aïda' was the first opera conducted by him, and, as everything went off satisfactorily, from that performance there was a new conductor in Italy.

Thanks to his first successful attempt, in the following year Mancinelli was engaged to be the musical director at Jesi during the fêtes of Spontini's centenary. On this occasion he revived the opera 'La Vestale,' and the admirable execution of this grand work reflected on the conductor, who was re-engaged for the direction of the orchestra of the Apollo. In 1876 Mancinelli had his first success as a composer with his 'Intermezzi' to 'Messalina,' a drama by Pietro Cossa. The following year he wrote 'Intermezzi' to the 'Cleopatra' of the same author.

Mancinelli left Rome in 1881 for Bologna, where he was engaged to be the Principal of the Liceo Musicale, and at the same tune the conductor of the Teatro Comunale, and the Maestro di Cappella of San Petronio, the old basilica of the famous university town. During his stay there he composed two Masses and many other sacred pieces, introduced several improvements in the Liceo, organized a symphony and quartet society, and was the first to acquaint the Bolognese with vocal and instrumental music by foreign composers. In 1884 he gave the first performance of his opera 'Isora di Provenza,' which was received with great applause.

After five years he left Bologna, attracted perhaps to other countries by the prospect of pecuniary improvement in his position. During the season of 1886 he visited London, and gave a concert, in which he conducted classical works and some of his own compositions. The success of this concert brought him an invitation to write an oratorio for the next Norwich Festival, and the engagement to conduct the Italian Opera during the Jubilee season at Drury Lane. His powers as a conductor received full recognition; and his oratorio 'Isaias,' executed at Norwich in October, 1887, was unanimously praised. He was re-engaged by Mr. Augustus Harris as conductor for the season of 1888 at Covent Garden.

For the last two years Mancinelli has held the place of musical director and conductor at the Theatre Royal of Madrid. He is now at work on a Requiem Mass which will very probably be performed in London, and he has already been asked to compose a second oratorio.
[ F. Rz. ]