Pietro Mascagni

Pietro Mascagni, an Italian composer most noted for his operas, held in Zadar three concerts in September 1936.

Pietro Antonio Stefano Mascagni (December 7, 1863 – August 2, 1945) was an Italian composer most noted for his operas. His 1890 masterpiece „Cavalleria rusticana“ caused one of the greatest sensations in opera history and single-handedly ushered in the Verismo movement in Italian dramatic music.

One of the greatest open air symphonic concerts in Zadar history was held long before José Carreras held his in 2009. This happened on 10th September 1936 on the then Green Square conducted by maestro Pietro Mascagni. Maestro Pietro Mascagni arrived in Zadar when he was 73 years old to conduct the magnificent orchestra of 75 musicians, partly from Zadar and partly from Italy. According to maestro’s wish, Split composer Josip Hatze, who was maestro’s student and friend, attended the concert.

Mascagni held three concerts in Zadar which were organised as a part of a tourist manifestation called “Zadar Week”. The first one was held on the evening of 10th September on the Green Square, the second one on 13th September, and the third - unplanned one was held according to citizens’ wish on 14th September at the then Teatro Verdi. The programme included works by Mascagni himself, Wagner, Puccini, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Catalani, Verdi and Rossini.

As in modern times, these concerts caused certain restrictions and special regulation of traffic in the city due to stage and auditorium construction. Access roads to the Green Square were completely closed off and the market place was moved to the Three Wells Square for 20 whole days, so that the large stage for the orchestra and 1800 chairs in 36 rows could be set up and the electric lights could be reinforced. The ambient of the Green Square was extremely acoustic; thus the concert was announced as an exceptional audio experience. Nonetheless, tenants from the surrounding buildings, who listened to the concert from their windows and balconies, had to buy tickets as well and switch off their radios during the concert.