Monday, 27 December 2010

Samuel Barber/Menotti/Scotland, part two.

Samuel Barber's lifelong partner was the Italian/American composer Gian Carlo Menotti. Born in Italy 1911, the two met at Philadelphia's Curtis Institute of Music. After they both graduated they bought a house together in Mount Kisco New York which they named Capricorn, and which they shared for 40 years.
He collaborated with Samuel Barber on several operas including Barber's most famous opera Vanessa for which he wrote the libretto. His most successful works were composed in the 1940s and 1950s.
In 1958 Menotti founded the Spoleto Festival in Italy, and its companion festival in Charleston South Carolina in 1977. In 1986 he extended the Spoleto festival concept to Melbourne, and this has now become The Melbourne International Arts Festival. It was in the field of opera that he made his most notable contribution to American cultural life.
In 1974 Menotti adopted Francis Phelan, an American actor and figure skater, and in the same year purchased the fine Robert Adam mansion house in the village of Gifford, East Lothian, Scotland. Yester House is a 17th century grade A-listed house with c85 palatial rooms plus 500 acres, situated 30 minutes from Edinburgh. He bought it on a 10 year loan, and on the marriage of his adopted son Francis to Malinda in 1985 gave it to them as a wedding present.
Gian Carlo Menotti was a sincere and sensitive man, a great composer who wanted to popularise opera, his dream was to develop the disused stables of his grand house and open a music school there, and was disappointed that due to lack of funds he was not able to do this. He died aged 95 in Monte Carlo in 2007.

1 comment:

  1. It is a pity he never finished his project.But judging by the size of Yesterhouse it probably swallowed up piles of cash and buckets of time.