March 4, 1864: 22-year-old Gaetano Scavello, tutor to Ruggero Leoncavallo (6) in Montalto Uffugo, Calabria, is set upon by two villagers and stabbed to death in a dispute over the affections of a young woman. The story will provide a starting point for Pagliacci.
February 18, 1878: In Naples, Ruggero Leoncavallo (20) is informed that he will not have to serve in the military since his older brother has already.
June 11, 1882: After Viceroy Mohammed Tawfiq of Egypt calls on European help, Egyptians riot in Alexandria. Fifty people are killed. With foreigners a particular target, Ruggero Leoncavallo (25) decides to end his three-year sojourn in Egypt and return to Europe.
July 9, 1883: An advertisement appears in Le ménestrel, Paris, announcing the services of one Roger Leoncavallo (26) as a pianist, accompanist, or librettist.
April 3, 1887: Le nuit de mai, a “Grand Poème symphonique” for tenor and orchestra by Ruggero Leoncavallo (30), to words of Musset, is performed for the first time, in Salle Kriegelstein, Paris.
May 21, 1892: Pagliacci, a dramma by Ruggero Leoncavallo (35) to his own words, is performed for the first time, in Teatro dal Verme, Milan. The public is very positive. The critics are confused or hostile.
November 9, 1893: Ruggero Leoncavallo’s (36) poema epico in forma di trilogia storica Crepusculum: I medici to his own words is performed for the first time, in Teatro dal Verme, Milan. The public responds very well. The critics find it interesting but derivative. Parts two and three will never be composed.
January 20, 1895: Ruggero Leoncavallo (37) marries Marie Rose Jean (Berthe) Rambaud at the City Hall of Milan. Her background is very sketchy. It is unclear whether Rambaud is her maiden name. (Leoncavallo will claim that he married in 1888 in Paris.)
April 9, 1895: Ruggero Leoncavallo (38) is granted an audience with Queen Margherita of Italy. He hopes to be able to dedicate his opera Chatterton to her. He will not be successful.
March 10, 1896: Chatterton, a dramma lirico by Ruggero Leoncavallo (39) to his own words after de Vigny, is performed for the first time, in Teatro Argentina, Rome. This is a revision of an unperformed opera composed 20 years ago. It is moderately successful.
March 28, 1896: King Umberto I of Italy awards to Ruggero Leoncavallo (39) the Commendatore nell’Ordine della Corona d’Italia.
May 6, 1897: La bohème, a commedia lirica by Ruggero Leoncavallo (40) to his own words after Murger, is performed for the first time, in Teatro La Fenice, Venice. The production is saved by the singers. Critics like the libretto, not so much the music.
February 19, 1898: At a rehearsal for the Vienna premiere of Ruggero Leoncavallo’s (40) La bohème, the composer, and conductor Gustav Mahler (37) battle in front of musicians and cast about the inclusion of the singer Ernest Van Dyck. Receiving no satisfaction, Leoncavallo withdraws but later sends a letter to the hall threatening to withdraw his work if Van Dyck is not included. Mahler does not give in. Leoncavallo takes his cause to the press.
March 29, 1899: Ruggero Leoncavallo (42) plays excerpts from his La Bohème and Pagliacci for Queen Victoria and her companions at the Hotel Regina in Cimiez. She finds his music “charming.”
November 10, 1900: The commedia lirica Zazà, with music by Ruggero Leoncavallo (43) and words by the composer after Berton and Simon, is performed for the first time, at the Teatro Lirico, Milan.
February 27, 1901: According to the composer’s wishes, the bodies of Giuseppe Verdi (†0) and his wife, Giuseppina, are moved from the Cimitero Monumentale and buried together at the Casa di Riposa, Milan. This second funeral is attended by 300,000 people, including many eminent representatives of the Italian state and foreign governments. Also in attendance are Ruggero Leoncavallo (43), Giacomo Puccini (42), and Pietro Mascagni (37). Before the procession begins, a massed choir of 820 voices, directed by Arturo Toscanini, sings Va pensiero from Nabucco.
April 8, 1904: Enrico Caruso sings the song Mattinata in the Grand Hotel, Milan, accompanied by the composer, Ruggero Leoncavallo (47) in a recording session by the Gramophone and Typewriter Company. The song was composed at the request of G&T specifically for the purpose of recording.
May 24, 1904: Ruggero Leoncavallo (47) is granted an audience with Kaiser Wilhelm II at Potsdam for the purpose of presenting the Kaiser with a copy of his Der Roland von Berlin. Wilhelm calls Leoncavallo “the foremost Italian composer.” (Dryden, 90)
December 13, 1904: The historical drama Der Roland von Berlin by Ruggero Leoncavallo (47) to his own words, after Alexis (tr. Droescher) is performed for the first time, at the Städtische Oper, Berlin. The public likes it but the critics are unimpressed.
February 12, 1905: King Vittorio Emmanuele III creates Ruggero Leoncavallo (47) a Cavaliere dell’Ordine dei Santi Maurizio e Lazzaro, in Rome.
September 24, 1906: Ruggero Leoncavallo (49) departs Bremen aboard the Kaiser Wilhelm der Große making for New York. He will tour the United States for two months with seven singers and a 75-piece orchestra.
October 8, 1906: Ruggero Leoncavallo (49) gives his first performance in North America at Carnegie Hall, New York. It includes excerpts from his operas and the first performance of his march Viva l’America! Reviews are mixed.
December 14, 1906: After two months of concerts in the United States, Ruggero Leoncavallo (49) departs New York for Italy.
January 20, 1910: The fantasia comica medioevale Malbruk, by Ruggero Leoncavallo (52) to words of Nessi after Boccaccio, is performed for the first time, at the Teatro Nazionale, Rome.
June 24, 1912: Ruggero Leoncavallo’s (55) operetta La reginetta della rose, to words of Forzano, is performed for the first time, at the Teatro Costanzi, Rome and the Politeama Giacosa, Naples.
September 16, 1912: Zingari, a dramma lirico by Ruggero Leoncavallo (55) to words of Cavacchioli and Emanuel after Pushkin, is performed for the first time, at the London Hippodrome, conducted by the composer.
November 1, 1913: Ruggero Leoncavallo’s (56) farce Are You There?, to words of de Courville and Wallace, is performed for the first time, at the Prince of Wales Theatre, London. It is an unmitigated disaster.
February 6, 1915: La candidata, an operetta by Ruggero Leoncavallo (57) to words of Forzano, is performed for the first time, at the Teatro Nazionale, Rome and the Politeama Chiarella, Turin.
January 21, 1916: Giovanni Abbondio, former lawyer for Ruggero Leoncavallo (58), begins legal proceedings against the composer to retrieve payment for his legal services. Leoncavallo’s finances have not been good in recent years.
April 27, 1916: Goffredo Mameli, an azione storica by Ruggero Leoncavallo (59) to words of Belvederi and the composer, is performed for the first time, at the Teatro Carlo Felice, Genoa conducted by the composer. The response is lukewarm. The press finds many faults.
September 2, 1916: Prestami tua moglie, an operetta by Ruggero Leoncavallo (59) to words of Corradi, is performed for the first time, at the Montecatini Casino. It enjoys a good success.
August 9, 1919: 11:30 Ruggero Leoncavallo dies of nephritis in Villino Giannini, a home he is renting on Via Stella in Montecatini, Kingdom of Italy, aged 62 years, five months, and one day.
August 12, 1919: The mortal remains of Ruggero Leoncavallo are transported from Montecatini to Florence for burial at Cimitero Monumentale delle Porte Sante.
October 16, 1919: A chi la giarrettiera?, an operetta by Ruggero Leoncavallo (†0), is performed for the first time, in the Teatro Adriano, Rome.
December 13, 1920: Edipo Rè, a grand opera by Ruggero Leoncavallo (†1) to words of Forzano after Sophocles, is performed for the first time, at the Chicago Opera. The work was completed (or entirely composed) by Giovanni Pennacchio.
April 29, 1923: Il primo bacio, an operetta by Ruggero Leoncavallo (†3) to words of Bonelli, is performed for the first time, in the Salone di Cura, Montecatini. (There are serious doubts about the authenticity of this work)
June 26, 1925: La maschera nuda, an operetta by Ruggero Leoncavallo (†5) to words of Bonelli and Paolieri, with music completed by (or entirely composed by) Salvatore Allegra, is performed for the first time, in the Teatro Politeama, Naples.