He is undoubtedly the representative of the romantic century of the composers of his generation.
Despite his melancholic character, for ArtuRo Toscanini he is "the most simpatico of the composers". He admired him so much that he calls his daughter "Wally".
He is Alfredo Catalani.
Alfredo Catalani was born in 1854 in Lucca. Son of musicians, his father Eugenio is a musician, teacher and also musical organizer. Alfredo began his musical studies in 1863 at the musical institute of the city, pupil of Fortunato Magi, uncle of Giacomo Puccini.
Like Puccini, to obtain his diploma he composed a Mass for 4 voices, choir and orchestra, which obtained flattering reviews from critics and audience.
He studied in Paris and in Milan, where he highlighted himself with "La falce", a cantata for two voices and choir on a libretto by Boito who would soon write for Verdi.
He continues with the musical studies of Liszt and Wagner's opera, he approaches the most up-to-date Italian artists. In 1886 he finally staged the Loreley and in 1891 the other great opera, La Wally dividing contemporary critics. Toscanini brings it in triumph. Gustav Mahler directed it in Hamburg calling it "the best Italian opera". Puccini appreciated it. Verdi does not like it: "It is a German opera, devoid of heart and inspiration," he writes.
In this great journey, Lucca remains the place to spend some time off. In 1892, La Wally, directed by Arturo Toscanini, one of its most important supporters, was staged at the Teatro del Giglio. It is thanks to him that Catalani's operas established themselves in the world. The city honors him worthily.
Of melancholic temperament, he has a life marked by family mourning and a love story that will not have a happy ending. His brother and sister die of consumption and he himself suffers from it. In the summer of 1893 he left for Switzerland in an attempt to recover his health, but he did not go beyond Chiasso. Struck by a serious hemorrhage, he died in Milan where he died, at the age of 39, on 7 August.