CILEA Francesco



Cilea was enrolled at the Royal College of San Pietro at Majella, Naples, at the age of only thirteen. He studied under Serrao and Platania and passed his diploma brilliantly in 1889.

His parting work on leaving the Conservatoire, Gina, attracted the attention of the Sonzogno publishing house, which published all his subsequent works. After an experiment in “verismo” with the opera Tilda (1892), Cilea reached artistic maturity with L’Arlesiana (1897), the success of which coincided with that of the young Enrico Caruso, and Adriana Lecouvreur (1902), which was also premiered by the great tenor. His series of successes was completed with Gloria (1907), which was produced in 1907 at the Teatro alla Scala under the conduction of Toscanini.

Cilea’s style is differentiated from that of the other composers of the “Giovane Scuola” by its almost Bellinian grace and by the elegant and delicate atmosphere which pervades his music.

  • Poster by Aleardo Villa for the first performance of Adriana Lecouvreur (1902, Teatro Lirico of Milan, protagonist Enrico Caruso)
  • Sketch for the first performance of L'Arlesiana (1897, Teatro Lirico of Milan, protagonist Enrico Caruso)
  • The first edition of the score of Gloria (1907, La Scala of Milan, conductor Arturo Toscanini)
  • Some great interpreters of Adriana Lecouvreur: Enrico Caruso, Beniamino Gigli, Magda Olivero with Franco Corelli and Giulietta Simionato, Placido Domingo and Renata Tebaldi, Montserrat CaballĂ©, Raina Kabaiwanska, Renata Scotto, Mirella Freni, Katia Ricciarelli
  • Tito Schipa and Margherita Carosio in L'Arlesiana (La Scala, 1936)