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Ettore Panizza

Ettore Panizza’s parents were Italian: his father was a cellist as well as a composer and it was he who gave his son his first music lessons. Ettore travelled from Argentina to Italy to enter the Milan Conservatory, where he studied piano, composition, harmony and counterpoint, receiving the Conservatory’s first prize for composition upon graduating. In 1899 he began a most distinguished career as a conductor, initially in Italy at, amongst others, the opera houses of Bologna, Naples, Palermo and Rome; and appearing also at Covent Garden regularly between 1907 and 1914. By 1908 Panizza was conducting at La Scala, Milan, reappearing there during World War I; and when, after the war, a new management structure (an ente autonomo) was created at the theatre, he conducted half of the first season’s productions (five out of ten) alongside Toscanini, who conducted the balance and retained a controlling influence over all of La Scala’s activities. In the same year, 1921, Panizza recommended a distinguished opera conductor of the future, Antonino Votto, to Toscanini as a répétiteur for La Scala. Throughout Toscanini’s period as chief conductor, which ended in 1929, and beyond, until 1932, Panizza remained as a devoted assistant to him, conducting numerous productions at La Scala including the first performances in Italy of Mussorgsky’s Khovanshchina and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Tsar Saltan, and in 1926 Wagner’s Ring cycle. During this period, having heard the English soprano Eva Turner singing the




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