The Italian composer and pianist Franco Alfano was born in Naples, where he studied before a period at the Leipzig Conservatory. His name has long been remembered for the completion of Puccini’s last opera, Turandot, but his reputation as an original composer has more recently been reassessed.
After earlier ballet music, written during a period in Paris, Alfano won his first operatic success with Risurrezione (‘Resurrection’), staged in Turin in 1904. He used some of his 1921 opera La leggenda di Sakùntala in his completion of Turandot. His opera, which reflects the influence of Debussy, was later reconstructed and revived under the title Sakùntala. Other operas include a version of Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, testimony to his importance in Italian opera after Puccini.
Instrumental and Vocal Music
Alfano had recourse to the work of Rabindranath Tagore in his vocal settings. His chamber and piano music includes three string quartets, a cello sonata and a concerto for piano trio.