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Homegrown verismo

Il Padrone

George Scigliano was the first Italian American elected to public office in Boston. His story was brought to life by Steven Puleo in “The Boston Italians.” As Puleo notes, Scigliano fought hard to end the exploitation of Italian immigrants through the corrupt padrone system. His death inspired the unsuccessful effort by James Donnaruma to rename North Square after him. Scigliano’s work also may have been the inspiration for something else: an opera about Italian immigrants set in the North End. That opera is George Whitfield Chadwick’s “Il Padrone” (1913). Chadwick is one of the most well-known and accomplished American classical ...

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