Ettore Panizza

Ettore Panizza

Argentine conductor and composer
Date of Birth: 12.08.1875
Country: Argentina

  1. Biography of Ettore Panizza
  2. Early Life and Education
  3. Career Highlights
  4. Notable Works and Collaborations
  5. Impact and Legacy

Biography of Ettore Panizza

Ettore Panizza was an Argentine conductor and composer, known as one of the leading conductors of the early 20th century. He was highly regarded for his exceptional technical skill and enjoyed great popularity and influence during his time. The composer Richard Strauss was particularly fond of him.

Early Life and Education

Ettore Panizza was born on August 12, 1875, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to an Italian family. He was originally named Hector Panizza at birth but became known as Ettore throughout his career. He initially received music education from his father, who was a cellist at the famous Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires. Panizza later traveled to Milan, Italy, to further his studies.

Career Highlights

Panizza made his debut as an assistant conductor at the Rome Opera in 1897. He maintained close ties with La Scala in Milan, where he conducted the Wagnerian cycle "Der Ring des Nibelungen" in 1926. He also had a significant association with the Royal Opera House in London. In New York, Panizza succeeded Tullio Serafin as the principal conductor of the Italian repertoire at the Metropolitan Opera. He worked with opera stars such as Rosa Ponselle and Enrico Caruso during his eight seasons there. However, his primary venue remained the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, where his opera "Aurora" premiered during the theater's first season.

Notable Works and Collaborations

Although rarely mentioned, Panizza was the first conductor of Puccini's "Turandot," completed by Franco Alfano. The opera premiered on April 25, 1926, at La Scala under the baton of Arturo Toscanini. Toscanini had stopped the performance at the point where Puccini had left off due to his death. Panizza conducted the orchestra for subsequent performances, which included Alfano's ending.
Throughout his career, Panizza conducted a wide range of operas, including "Tosca," "La bohème," "Carmen," "Boris Godunov," "La traviata," "Macbeth," "Aida," "Simon Boccanegra," "Falstaff," "Bizancio," "Andrea Chénier," and "Madama Butterfly." He collaborated with renowned singers such as Alessandro Bonci, Nellie Melba, Ezio Pinza, Zinka Milanov, Victoria de los Ángeles, and Beniamino Gigli. Panizza was also a frequent guest conductor in cities like Chicago, Vienna, Berlin, and other European capitals.

Impact and Legacy

In 1924, Panizza heard the British soprano Eva Turner perform as Madame Butterfly and recommended her to Arturo Toscanini, which marked the beginning of her impressive international career. He also helped the career of the young Italian conductor Antonino Votto. Panizza conducted numerous premieres, including Riccardo Zandonai's "Francesca da Rimini," Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari's "Sly," and Gian Carlo Menotti's "The Island of God." He was also the conductor for several local premieres in London, New York, and Milan, including Mussorgsky's "Khovanshchina" and Respighi's "La campana sommersa." Panizza himself composed four operas: "Il fidanzato del mare" in 1897, "Medioevo Latino" in 1900, "Aurora" in 1908 (his most successful work, with the aria "Alta en el cielo" becoming a patriotic song), and "Bizancio" in 1939.
In 1952, he published his autobiography titled "Medio Siglo de Vida Musical" (Half a Century of Musical Life). Ettore Panizza passed away on December 27, 1967, in Milan at the age of 92.