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Gian Carlo Menotti
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    (July 7, 1911-February 1, 2007)
    Born in Cadegliano-Viconago, Italy
    Best known for his Christmas-themed opera 'Amahl and the Night Visitors' (1951)
    Other operas include 'The Medium' (1946), 'The Consul' (1950), 'The Saint of Bleeker Street' (1954), 'Maria Golovin' (1958), 'Help, Help, the Globolinks!' (1968), 'The Hero' (1976), 'The Boy Who Grew Too Fast' (1982), 'Goya' (1986) and 'The Wedding' (1988)
    He said he was 'a beautiful child until my nose started to grow.'
    Although he referred to himself as an American composer, he kept his Italian citizenship.
    He suffered bouts of severe writer's block, leading him to offer to refund NBC his $5,000 comission if they would cancel 'Amahl and the Night Visitors.'
    Igor Stravinsky dismissed his compositions as 'mid-Mascagni' and Luigi Nono withdrew from a project rather than allow his music to share a program with Menotti's.
    Time magazine described his operas as 'Puccini and water' and 'Mussorgsky with the Mussorgsky removed.'
    He said, 'Any subject is good for opera if the composer feels it so intensely he must sing it out.'
    He won Pulitzer Prizes for 'The Consul' and 'The Saint of Bleeker Street.'
    In addition to composing the music, he wrote his own librettos and directed the staging of his operas.
    He wrote the first operas commissioned for radio and TV.
    He said that Amahl 'introduced so many people to music. I get hundreds of letters about it to this day.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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