Tags: Dance, Music, Italy, place: Genoa
Ballet composer Cesare Pugni was born on 31 March 1802 in Genoa, the son of a clockmaker. He began his musical studies at a young age. Composer Peter Winter took the youngster under his tutelage and later arranged for him to be admitted into Milan’s Conservatory of Music. In the autumn of 1843, Pugni left for London and soon enjoyed a period of great success. Between the 1843 and 1850 seasons at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Haymarket, he produced an impressive series of scores for three of the greatest choreographers at that time, Jules Perrot, Arthur Saint-Léon, and Paul Taglioni. Not long after his move to London, Pugni married his second wife Marion (or Mary Ann) Linton. Pugni’s collaboration with Perrot at Her Majesty’s Theatre was an enormous success. In 1843, the pair produced Ondine for Fanny Cerrito; a year later presented La Esmeralda for Carlotta Grisi. Among their most celebrated collaborations was the 1845 ballet Éoline created for the great Danish prima ballerina Lucile Grahn. In the winter of 1850, Pugni severed all ties to London and Paris. He arrived in Saint Petersburg with his English wife and their seven children (his son Alberto Linton-Pougny would father the avant-garde artist Ivan Puni). By 1860, Pugni was maintaining two households - the first with his wife and the second with a woman named Daria Petrovna, with whom he fathered eight more children before the end of his life. He died in St Petersburg in January 1870.