Ship) is an opera with music composed by the Italian
composer Italo Montemezzi (1875-1952) on the tragedy by Gabriele
D'Annunzio, adapted into a libretto by Tito Ricordi.
Nowadays, the name Montemezzi doesn't say
much to most opera and music lovers but in his time Montemezzi enjoyed
a very good
fame both in Italy and abroad, especially in the USA, where famous
like Toscanini took his operas on stage.
who teaches English Literature at Doshisha University in Kyoto and
edited books on Alfredo Catalani, decided to write a book about Italo
Montemezzi and asked me to translate from Italian into English the
documents he was going to include in his book.
This will be published soon but, meanwhile, Prof. Chandler found out
that there was
going to be a new launch for La
Nave so, for this special occasion, he decided to compile a collection of essays about this
including: writings by Montemezzi himself, contemporary reviews of the
of subsequent Italian and American productions, written by important
important persons, critics and historians (Guido
Podrecca, Ugo Navarra, W. L. Hubbard, Adriano Lualdi, Ildebrando
Pizzetti, Bruno Barilli) and an essay
written by Prof. Raffaele Mellace especially for this book. So my
connection with La Nave is
that I've translated these
A short history
First I'll briefly tell you something about the opera. La Nave is about the origin of Venice, in the 6th
century, its aspirations and wishes for a brilliant future, it is a
historical drama with a patriotic
intent. Considering this,
Montemezzi was very lucky to have his opera premiered in coincidence
with the night of the eve of Italy's
in the First World War with the troops of the Italian army entering
Trento and Trieste on 3rd November 1918,
at La Scala in Milan. It was a success and the opera was
soon staged in Chicago,
conducted by Montemezzi himself and later also in Verona (Montemezzi's
birthplace) and other cities.
Drawing for the
A new launch for La Nave
There is an opera company in New York, Teatro
Grattacielo, specialized in lesser-known, rarely heard Italian
operas of the years 1890s
It was the Verismoperiod, with composers such as
Mascagni, Catalani, Zandonai, Giordano,
Cilea, Alfano, Leoncavallo.
For this year they've decided to perform La Nave in concert form and this
event will take place on the next 29th
So if you are in that area I warmly recommend you to go to this unique
performance, where you'll also find
this book and discover a new opera a new composer.
prow and sail toward the world!’
Montemezzi composed not only operas but also symphonic works, something
quite rare among composers in Italy in the 19th and early 20th century.
He was particularly appreciated for his orchestration, with influences from
Wagner and Strauss works with a very melodic line. He was nicknamed
Here you can watch a short documentary (in Italian) in which you can
listen to Montemezzi's music.
Listen to Montemezzi's music
are many different ideas about what makes a good translation, and
different kinds of translation job doubtless call for different kinds
of expertise. Often it is said that a translator should always
translate into his or her native language. I disagree. As a scholar,
what I want to be sure of is that the translator has understood every
nuance of the original text as accurately as possible. That means I
prefer to employ a native user of the language the text is written in,
and preferably someone with an expert understanding of the subject
being discussed. I have been very happy with Monica Cuneo's
translations of various Italian texts concerned with opera. She has
translated them with great fidelity, explained the 'untranslatable'
where appropriate, and her expert knowledge of music has allowed her to
confidently understand a lot of specialised terminology. Furthermore,
she does not consider translation to be a one-step process, and has
happily answered questions and responded to suggestions concerning her
translations, the first versions of which we have treated as 'work in
progress'. For anyone who wants this sort of active relationship with a
translator, I recommend her very highly indeed." Prof.
Associate Professor in English Literature, Doshisha University, Kyoto