A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Samara, Spiro

2703641A Dictionary of Music and Musicians — Samara, SpiroFrancesco Rizzelli


SAMARA, Spiro, is a Greek, son of the Consul-general of Greece in Corfu, by an English mother. He was born Nov. 29, 1861. He got his first musical education in Athens, under the tuition of Enrico Stancampiano, a pupil of Mercadante, himself an opera conductor and music master, living in the Greek capital. While studying piano and harmony, literature had a great attraction for young Samara, and he dedicated to it all the time he did not employ with music. Thanks to his perseverance and to his natural facility, Samara acquired both ancient and modern Greek, and became a good English, French and Italian scholar. He was already a pianist of uncommon talent when he left Athens for the Paris Conservatoire. There he finished his musical education as a pupil of Delibes. It was in Paris that Samara's first compositions for orchestra were executed; there also some of his drawing-room songs were received with success. But that was not sufficient for the new composer; his ambition wanted a larger field, and he went to Milan, where the publisher E. Sonzogno, who had already heard of him in Paris, gave him Flora mirabilis,' a three-act libretto by the renowned poet, Ferdinando Fontana, to set to music. The first performance of his opera took place on May 16, 1886, at the Theatre Carcano of Milan. In a few days the name of the Greek maestro became popular in Italy, so successful was the appearance of his work. While the public applauded with enthusiasm, the critics were unanimous in proclaiming that this opera, without approaching perfection, still showed that its author had studied the great masters with care, that he possessed a certain originality of ideas, and above all, dramatic power.

Many important European towns have confirmed the verdict of Milan, and Samara has triumphed everywhere. Before writing 'Flora mirabilis' he had already composed an opera entitled 'Medjé.' This he has lately revised and completed, and it was brought out at the Costanzi Theatre in Home, Dec. 12, 1888. 'Lionella' is the title of another three-act libretto by Fontana, on which Samara is now at work.

After the splendid dawn of 'Flora mirabilis,' it is not surprising that the musical world should expect great things from its author.
[ F. Rz. ]