March 6

1831 premiere of Vincenzo Bellini's opera La sonnambula (The Sleepwalker) at the Teatro Carcano, Milan; the phrase Ah! non credea mirarti / Sì presto estinto, o fiore ("I did not believe you would fade so soon, oh flower") from Amina's final aria is inscribed on Bellini's tomb in the Catania Cathedral in Sicily.

1853 premiere of Giuseppe Verdi's La traviata (The Fallen Woman) at La Fenice in Venice; the premiere did not go well and the next day, Verdi wrote to a friend in what has become his most famous letter: "La traviata last night a failure. Was the fault mine or the singers'? Time will tell"; as of 2012, it was in first place on the Operabase list of the most-performed operas worldwide.

1870 Oscar Straus – Austrian composer of operettas, film scores and songs (d.1954); his original name was actually Strauss, but for professional purposes he deliberately omitted the final 's', since he wished not to be associated with the musical Strauss family of Vienna.

1897 Knudage Riisager – Estonian-born Danish composer (d.1974); his Trumpet Concertino (1933) is considered a leading example of Danish neoclassical music.

1930 Lorin Maazel – American conductor, violinist and composer (d.2014); Music Director of the Cleveland Orchestra from 1972 to 1982; held posts at L’Orchestre National de France, Pittsburgh Symphony, Bavarian Radio Symphony and the New York Philharmonic, among others.

1934 first performance of Benjamin Britten's A Simple Symphony in Norwich with the composer conducting an amateur orchestra; appears in Wes Anderson's film Moonrise Kingdom (2012), which prominently features many pieces by Britten.

1944 Dame Kiri Te Kanawa – New Zealand/Maori soprano (73 years old); has had a highly successful international opera career since 1968; in 2013, she appeared in Downton Abbey playing Dame Nellie Melba, the Australian operatic soprano.

1952 Marielle Labeque – French pianist (66 years old); with Katia, member of the piano duo, the Labeque Sisters.

1975 Yannick Nézet-Séguin – Canadian conductor and pianist (43 years old); currently holds leadership posts with the Orchestre Métropolitaine in Montreal, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, and the Philadelphia Orchestra; has been named Music Director Designate of the Metropolitan Opera for the 2017-2018 season, and will become the company’s third-ever Music Director in the 2018-2019 season, two seasons earlier than planned.

2000 premiere of The Handmaid’s Tale by Poul Ruders at the Royal Danish Opera in Copenhagen; based on the novel by Canadian writer Margaret Attwood; original production was sung in Danish, but the composer says he conceived the work in English.


says he conceived the work in English.

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