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Last Updated: Friday, 2 February 2007, 10:24 GMT
Composer Gian Carlo Menotti dies
Opera singer Luciano Pavarotti (l) with Gian Carlo Menotti
A gala concert marked the composer's 90th birthday in 2001
Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning opera composer Gian Carlo Menotti has died in a Monaco hospital aged 95.

Born in Italy in 1911, he founded arts festivals in Spoleto in Italy - where he was known affectionately as "the mad maestro" - and in the US.

Menotti also wrote Amahl and the Night Visitors in 1951, thought to have been the first opera written for television.

His son Francis said that the composer died on Thursday, "pretty peacefully and without any pain".

He was one of the most charismatic figures in the arts world
Italian Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli

Menotti began composing songs at the age of seven, and wrote his first opera at 11.

Encouraged by his mother, he received formal musical training at the Verdi Conservatory in Milan, before moving to the US in 1928, where he trained at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia.

His first professional opera, Amelia Goes to the Ball, was first produced in 1937.

He won Pulitzer Prizes for The Consul, which premiered in 1950, and 1954's The Saint of Bleecker Street.

The composer, who also wrote ballet music and orchestral pieces, wrote librettos for all his own operas and for the opera Antony and Cleopatra composed by his friend Samuel Barber.

'One of America's greatest'

In 1958, Menotti founded the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Umbria.

Rudolf Nureyev, Tennessee Williams, Margot Fonteyn and Al Pacino have all appeared there.

A sister US event began in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1977, and a third festival was established in Melbourne, Australia, in 1986.

However, disputes with the board led to Menotti ceasing involvement with the US festival in 1993.

Paying tribute to the composer, Italian Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli told Reuters news agency: "He was one of the most charismatic figures in the arts world.

"He was an important multicultural and international crossroads of the arts."

Peter Gelb, general manager of New York's Metropolitan Opera, told the Associated Press: "Gian Carlo Menotti introduced a generation of Americans to opera.

"He was one of America's greatest composers."

Obituary: Gian Carlo Menotti
02 Feb 07 |  Entertainment
Pavarotti joins Menotti celebration
09 Jul 01 |  Entertainment

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