1865 - October 3, 1917
born in Naples, Italy, composed during the Romantic period
Eduardo di Capua composed some of the most famous Neapolitan songs, including "O Sole Mio," "Santa Lucia Luntana," and "Torna a Surriento." He studied at the San Pietro Conservatory in Majilla, and an 1887 encounter with the poet Cinquegrana inspired him to write his first songs. It wasn't in Italy but on a trip to Odessa in 1898 when he composed "O Sole Mio." This would become an unofficial, romantic Italian anthem, never more so than during the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp. The conductor of the band couldn't find the music to the actual Italian national anthem, so instead he played "O Sole Mio."
Di Capua's reputation was posthumously clouded somewhat in 2004, when a Torino judge ruled that Alfredo Mazzucchi (1878-1972) was entitled to be listed as co-author of "O Sole Mio" and 18 other di Capua songs. Until then, Mazzucchi had been regarded as a mere transcriber or assistant who sat at the piano helping di Capua notate the music. The judge ruled that Mazzucchi's contribution to the creative process was "indistinguishable" from di Capua's, and new editions of sheet music are reflecting that ruling in their author credits. ~ James Reel, Rovi