Pavlos Carrer (also Paolo Carrer; Greek: Παύλος Καρρέρ; 12
May 1829 – 7 June 1896) was a Greek composer, one of the leaders of
the Ionian art music school and the first to create national operas
and national songs on Greek plots, Greek librettos and verses, as well
as melodies inspired by the folk and the urban popular musical
tradition of modern Greece.
4 See also
6 External links
Carrer was a descendant of a noble family of Zante. He studied music
in his birthplace with the Italian teachers Giuseppe Cricca, Francesco
Marangoni and possibly in
Corfu with Nikolaos Mantzaros. A natural
musical talent, but also in harmony with the cultural atmosphere of
Ionian Islands of the time, which was dominated by Italian opera
and western European culture, he composed his first small musical
pieces in the late 1840s. The operatic 'scena' Il pellegrino di
Castiglia attracted the public’s attention when it was staged at the
‘Apollon’ Municipal Theatre of Zante.
In 1850, in the peak of the Risorgimento, the young Pavlos Carrer
moved to Milan, the operatic capital of Europe (then under Austrian
occupation), in order to specialize in his music studies. There he
took private courses with Raimondo Boucheron, Pietro Tassistro and
Giuseppe Winter. In the same year, he presented a concert at the
‘Carcano’ theatre with his first instrumental works. He also
composed the music score for Tomaso Casati’s ballet Bianca di
Belmonte, produced at the ‘Teatro della Canobbiana’. Mentored
by Francesco Lucca, the powerful Italian music publisher, Carrer made
his debut as an opera composer in August 1852 at the ‘Carcano’,
with Dante e Bice, an opera in three parts to a libretto by Serafino
Torelli. The work, which seems to have annoyed the Austrian police by
its political connotations, deals with the Italian national poet Dante
Alighieri, his unfulfilled love for Beatrice Portinari, his political
activities and the writing of the Divine Comedy. In the next year,
Carrer cooperated with the choreographer Andrea Palladino for the
production of a comic ballet entitled Cadet, il barbiere, which was
staged at ‘La Canobbiana’ theatre with mediocre success.
However, the same year would bring a great success to the young
composer: the three-act opera Isabella d’Aspeno, which was presented
at the ‘San Giacomo’ theatre of Corfu, followed by a triumphant
series of performances at the Milanese ‘Carcano’ (April 1854 and
March 1856). The work, to a libretto by an unknown author signing with
the initials R.G.S. (possibly Giuseppe Sapio), occupies an important
position in the Italian operatic creation of mezzo ottocento, as it
seems to have been one of the many prototypes of Verdi’s famous
opera, Un ballo in maschera.
Carrer’s success in the Milanese stages was crowned with the
production of the grand opéra La Rediviva, in three acts to a
libretto by Giuseppe Sapio. The work was received with enthusiasm when
it premiered at the ‘Carcano’ (January 1856), a success that was
continued at the ‘Teatro Comunale’ of
Como (January 1857) and at
the ‘San Giacomo’ of
Corfu (December 1857). Throughout his stay in
Italy Carrer also composed salon music, especially opera paraphrases
for piano and flute, dances and solfège exercises.
With dreams of founding a national music and of becoming the first
Greek national composer, Carrer was repatriated in 1857 and settled in
Zante. He worked as a conductor and impresario in local theatres,
taught music and married the talented soprano and interpreter of his
works, Isabella Giatrà. At the same time he composed his first
national opera, the four-act Marco Bozzari (1858–60), as well as
numerous art songs in Greek lyrics, among which the celebrated
klephtiko, ‘Ho Gero Dēmos’ [Old man Dēmos]. This song, written
in the Greek traditional style of dēmoticà, was incorporated in the
above-mentioned opera. Marco Bozzari, after a series of misadventures,
caused by its patriotic and anti-Ottoman content, opened in
April 1861. It is considered Carrer’s most famous work and the most
popular Greek opera during the 19th and early 20th centuries, with a
record of more than 45 different stagings. The work, initially
composed to an Italian libretto written by Giovanni Caccialupi, was
soon translated and performed in Greek, often causing the audience’s
enthusiasm in the theaters where it was presented.
Similar in concept, though more elaborate in terms of composition, are
his other two national operas, the oriental and atmospheric Kyra
Phrosyinē (libretto by Elisavetios Martinegkos, performed at the
‘Apollon’ of Zante, in November 1868) and the heroic-style Despo
(libretto by Antonios Manousos, opened at the ‘Apollon’ of Patras,
in December 1882). Both the first, a mature work with a strong couleur
locale and sensuality, and the second, an opera with a marked national
stamp, dense in traditional melodic patterns, are imprinted on compact
disc and are accessible to the public.
Along with his national melodramas, Carrer continued to compose
Italian-style operas, such as Fior di Maria (libretto by Giovanni
Caccialupi, staged at the San Giacomo of Corfu, in January 1868), in
which realistic and pre-veristic elements are detected. Decisive steps
towards dramatic and musical realism were made with his historic opera
Maria Antonietta (libretto by Giorgio Roma, opened at the Foskolos
theatre of Zante, January 1884).
A special place in his operatic creation is held by Marathōn-Salamis,
an ambitious opera in four parts (composed c.1886–8), combining a
Classical theme with a proto-impressionist musical idiom and a hint of
Wagnerian unifying procedures. Carrer never saw this last opera on
stage, for it was first presented in Athens 115 years after its
composition by the Greek National Opera.
Finally, Carrer left a legacy of two unfinished projects, the national
style three-act opera Lambros il brulottiere (about 1886) and the
operetta Conte Spourgitis [Count Sparrow] (1886–7). There is also
meager evidence of another opera, unidentified and lost today,
entitled Don Pigna.
Pavlos Carrer was one of the most popular and widely performed
composers in 19th-century Greece, while achieving a considerable
reputation in Italy. He followed closely the developments in European
opera, lent an ear to artistic modernism and constantly updated his
compositional practice. In his musical style Italian influences are
evident, mainly from Verdi’s middle period and the late bel canto.
However, his musical idiom is distinguished for its unique personal
style, and for his efforts to bring Greek national coloring in his
Pavlos Carrer played a leading role in the most
characteristic evolution in the field of Greek art music that took
place in the Ionian islands of the mid-19th century and concerned the
first systematic effort of creating a national opera.
Il pellegrino di Castiglia (op scene, G. Laguidaras), Zante,
Bianca di Belmonte, 1850 (azione coreografica, T. Casati), Milan,
Canobbiana, Dec 1850, music lost, publ. lib in I-Mc
Dante e Bice c1851–2 (melodramma storico-fantastico, 3, S. Torelli),
Milan, Carcano, 24 Aug 1852, music lost, pubd lib in I-Mc
Cadet, Il barbiere 1853 (balletto comico, A. Palladino), Milan,
Canobbiana, 4 June 1853, music lost, publ. lib in I-Mb
Isabella d’Aspeno 1853 (melodramma tragico, 3, ‘R. G. S.’, after
Eu. Scribe), Corfu, S Giacomo, 7 Feb 1854, I-Mc
La Rediviva 1855 (tragedia lirica, prol., 3, G. Sapio, after B. du
Samblon, An. Bourgeois and G. Lemoine), Milan, Carcano, 19 Jan 1856,
Marco Bozzari, 1857–60 (tragedia lirica, 4, G. Caccialupi), Patras,
Apollon, 18  April 1861, music lost, publ. lib.
Fior di Maria, ovvero i misteri di Parigi, 1867 (os, 4, G. Caccialupi,
after E. Sue), Corfu, San Giacomo, Jan 1868, vs, Gr-An
Ē kyra Phrosynē [Lady Phrosynē] 1868 (os, 4, E. Martinegkos, after
Ar. Valaōritēs), Zante, Apollon, 16 Nov 1868
Maria Antonietta, 1873 (melodramma storico-tragico, 4, G. Romas),
Zante, Foscolos, 28 Jan 1884
Despō, ē hēroïs tou Souliou [Despo, heroine of Souli], 1875 (os,
1, A. Manousos), Patras, Apollon, 25 Dec 1882
O Psōmozētēs [The old beggar], 1875 (op scene, Al. Soutsos),
Athens, Parnassos, 25 March 1887
Marathōn-Salamis, 1886–8 (op, 4, A. Martzokis), Athens, Olympia, 9
Projected operas: Lambros il brulottiere, c1879–85 (os, El.
Martinengos), MS lib. frag., unfinished Conte Spourghitis [Count
Sparrow], c1886–9 (operetta, 3, I. Tsakassianos), duet pubd in Asty,
Athens (18 Dec 1888), unfinished, lost.
Sacred: Orthodox liturgy, 4 male vv, Oct 1886, lost; Ina ti efryaxan
ethni (Ps ii), Benakis Museum, Athens; Missa breve (Ky, Gl, Cr, San),
Jesu redemptor, Veni creator, Tantum ergo: all attrib. Carrer
With orch acc.: O Demos (A. Valaoritis), 1859, O stratiotis/Asma
polemou [The Soldier/War Song] (A. Manoussos), 1859, Anthi [Flowers]
(G. Candianos-Romas), 1859, I anthopolitra [The Flower Girl] (G.
Carvellas) by 1867, Vassilikos hymnos [Royal Anthem], 2 settings,
before 22 April 1875, O psomozitis [The Old Beggar] (A. Soustos),
before 22 April 1875, Lave ena rhodo agapi mou [Take a Rose, my
Darling]: all Benakis Museum, Athens; Nani-nani [Lullaby], before 22
April 1875; Nyktosynavlia (Kytta ti ahno fengari) [Serenade (Look at
the Pale Moon)], 1885, Philharmonic Society, Corfu; 3 songs (D.
Solomos), male chorus, mandolinata: I xanthoula [The Fair Maiden], I
farmakomeni [Poisoned], Pia ein' ekeini [Who is that Maiden];
Mysterion horou [The Mystery of a Ball], lost
With pf acc., mostly 1v: Una notte sul Pireo, romanza (Milan, ?
before 1857); 5 songs, 1859 (Athens, 1887) I katadhiki tou Kléphti
[The Condemnation of the Klepht] (I. Typaldos), Barcellona Greca/I
fyghi [The Flight] (I. Tyaldos), O Demos [Old Demos] (A. Valaoritis),
To Fengari: Dhiati glyko fengari mou [The Moon: Why, o Sweet Moon] (A.
Manoussos), I Maria/Molis éfenge t'asteri [Maria/Just as the Star was
Dawning] (I. Typaldos); O anthos ke i avgoula [The Flower and the
Dawn] (Solomos), 1859 (Athens, c1906); O stratiotis, 1859 (Athens,
n.d.), also orchd; Anthi, 1859 (Athens, n.d.), also orchd; To orfano
[The Orphan] (A. Paraschos), before 22 April 1875 (Athens, n.d.); Mana
ke paedhi [Mother and Child] (Athens, n.d.); Pes mou [Tell me]
(Solomos) (Athens, n.d.); I anthopolitra, by 1867, also orchd; O
psomozitis, before 22 April 1875, Benakis Museum, Athens, also orchd;
To filima [The Kiss] (G. Zalokostas), before 22 April 1875, Benakis
Museum, Athens; Hymnos pros tin patridha [Hymn to the Fatherland],
Benakis Museum, Athens; Louloudhia emazoxa [I've Picked up Flowers];
The Maid of Athens (G.G. Byron), 2 frags., 1 in Benakis Museum,
Athens; O koukos [The Cuckoo], doubtful, though in Carrer's hand; 7
other songs, lost; 8 solfeggi, 1857, lost.
Pf solo, pubd in
Milan before 1857: 44 original pieces, lost except
opp. 7–10, 12–15 (1851), 24 (c1851); 40 paraphrases and transcs.,
lost except Louisa Miller, quadrilles (1851), Divertimento sopra i
motivi di Trovatore, pf 4 hands, op.50 (1853), La traviata,
divertimento brillante, pf 4 hands, op.55 (1854), Deux pot-pourris
brillants sur les meilleurs motifs des Vêpres siciliennes, pf 4
hands, op.87–8 (n.d.), Simone Boccanegra, divertimento, pf 4 hands,
Pf solo, after 1857: 45 pieces, 1863–73, all MSS, incl. 15 in
Benakis Museum, Athens; other works, lost
Other works: Marcia funebre nell'opera La rediviva, transcr. band,
after 1856; 1885: Din-don polka, insts, 1885, Benakis Museum, Athens;
March, F, band; untitled work, F, band, Pot pourris greco di Paolo
Careri, band pts; 2 waltzes: A 15 anni, fl, Alleati, fl, also fl, pf:
both listed in Ricordi's catalogue (c1905); Giardino musicale: 20
fantasie sopra i migliori motivi delle opere moderne, fl, pf, op.67,
collab. F. Pizzi; many other transcrs., mostly fl, pf, some pubd
(Milan, n.d.), others listed in Ricordi's catalogue (c1905)
Principal publishers: Canti, Féxis (Athens), Lucca (Milan),
Pavlos Karrer, Despo,
Markos Botsaris (excerpts) (LP released by the
'Friends of the Museum of Solomos and Distinguished Zantiotes', Zante,
1989) EMI MT15117
Paolo Carrer, Frossini (Lyra, ML0669/70, 1998)
Paolo Carrer, Despo (Lyra, CD0792,2002) (this recording includes,
apart from Despo, the prelude to "Isabella d'Aspeno", the overture to
"Maria Antonietta", "Gero-Demos", three songs for soprano and
orchestra and a polka for orchestra)
E. Legrand: Bibliographie ionienne du quinzième siècle à l'année
1900, ed. H. Pernot, iii (Paris, 1910)
N. Varvianis: "Pavlos Carreris", Elliniki dhimiourghia [Hellenic
creation], viii/85 (1951), 276–80
G. Leotsakos, ed.: Pavlou Carrer Apomnimonevmata ke Katalogos ergon ke
moussikon heirographon [The Memoirs of
Pavlos Carrer and a Catalogue
of his Works and Musical Manuscripts] (Athens, 2000)
G. Leotsakos: Pavlos Karrer: Apomnimonevmata kai Ergografia [Pavlos
Karrer: Memoirs and Works] (Athens, Benaki Museum / Ionian
University-Department of Music, 2003)
A. Xepapadakou, Pavlos Carrer, FagottoBooks, Athens: 2013
A. Xepapadakou, The Operas of the
Pavlos Carrer of Zante,
1829-1896. Ph.D. Thesis, Ionian University, Dept. of Music Studies,
A. Xepapadakou, “‘A Thin Red Line’. The Opera Maria Antonietta
and the Second European Attempt of Pavlos Carrer”, in the
Proceedings of the Conference The Ionian Opera and Musical Theatre
until 1953, Athens: University of Athens-Dept. of Theatre Studies,
Athens State Orchestra & Athens Concert Hall
A. Xepapadakou, “The National Element in the Ionian Opera. The Case
of Pavlos Carrer”, Ariadne, Scientific Bulletin of the Philosophical
Faculty of the University of Crete, Rethymno: 2011, 169–199.
A. Xepapadakou, “The Ill-fated Opera Marathon-Salamis”, in
Parabasis, Scientific Bulletin, 5, Athens: University of Athens-Dept.
of Theatre Studies, 2003, 41–51.
A. Xepapadakou, “The Marco Bozzari by Pavlos Carrer, a
‘national’ Opera”, in Moussikos Logos, 5, Corfu: Ionian
University-Dept. of Music Studies, 2003, 27–63.
^ a b Xepapadakou, Avra (2013). "
Pavlos Carrer [Paolo Karrer]". Grove
Music Dictionary. New York: Oxford University Press.
^ a b c d Xepapadakou, Avra (2013). Pavlos Carrer. Athens:
Fagottobooks. pp. 30–37. ISBN 9789606685521.
^ Xepapadakou, Avra (2012). "
Isabella d'Aspeno or Gustav's Disguises:
An Unknown Prototype of Un Ballo in Maschera". 17th Biennial
Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music (Edinburgh, June 2012).
^ Xepapadakou, Avra (2003). "The Marco Bozzari by Pavlos Carrer, a
'national' Opera". Moussikos Logos. 5: 27–63.
^ Xepapadakou, Avra (2010). "The national element in the Ionian Opera.
The case of Paolo (Pavlos) Carrer". Ariadne. 16: 169–199.
^ Xepapadakou, Avra (2013). "Maria Antonietta: Pavlos Carrer's last
Italian opera and second European attempt". Moussikos Logos. 0.
^ Xepapadakou, Avra (2004). "The ill-fated opera 'Marathon-Salamis'".
Parabasis. 5: 111–121.
^ Xepapadakou Avra &, Charkiolakis Alexandros (2017). Interspersed
with Musical Entertainment. Music in Greek Salons of the Nineteenth
Century. Athens: Hellenic Music Centre. ISBN 9786188000643.
Free scores by
Pavlos Carrer at the International Music Score Library
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