Buzzi-Peccia (1854 - 1943)
Buzzi-Peccia was born 13 October 1854 in Milan, Italy, to Antonio and Clotilde Peccia. In 1868, he was accepted at the Milan Conservatory where he studied composition under Antonio Bazzini. In the late 1870s, he went to Paris to continue his studies under Massenet and Saint-Saens. He returned to Italy, first to Milan and eventually taking a position in Turin as a voice teacher.
He began to write music while still in school, and composed three works to secure his diploma from the Milan Conservatory in 1875. In 1886 his Visione e Baccanale romano was performed at La Scala. His symphonic poem Re Harfagar received critical acclaim when it premiered at La Scala in 1888. The 1897 premiere in Turin of Buzzi-Peccia's only opera, Forza d'Amore, was conducted by Arturo Toscanini. One of his best-known works is "Lolita: Serenata spagnola" (1892), recorded by many singers over the years including Enrico Caruso, Titta Ruffo, and Franco Corelli. His "Mal d'Amore" was sung by Joseph Schmidt in the 1934 film My Song Goes Round the World. Most of his songs were written in Italian, but he also wrote lyrics in French and English. His most famous novelty song, "La Cigarette du Paradis" (Song of the Cigarette), was written in French.
He came to the United States in 1898 to teach voice at the Chicago Musical College with references from such notables as Giuseppe Verdi and Arrigo Boito. Two years later Buzzi-Peccia moved to New York to teach at the Metroplitan College of Music. He was the first voice teacher of Alma Gluck, and also of Sophie Braslau. Another pupil of Buzzi-Peccia was the poet Dorothy Causo, wife of Enrico Caruso.