Ricordi and the Fantastic Five

The one thing I really messed up on my visit to Milan in 2008 was that I didn’t see the exhibition Ricordi e i Fantastici 5 — and why not? Because I didn’t notice the little sticker saying it had been extended, so I thought it was all over before I even arrived in Milan.

Exhibition poster: Ricordi and the Fantastic Five

The Ricordi music publishing company was founded in Milan in 1808, and for four generations it was run by Ricordi family members who managed to buy up the complete archives of La Scala (in 1825) and went on to be the publishers of the “Fantastic Five” opera composers: Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi and Puccini.

Starting in the 1980’s, Ricordi began publishing authoritative critical editions of operas by these composers and of older music, like the editions of Andrea Gabrieli, Scarlatti, Vivaldi, and collections of Venetian music theatre works and Neapolitan music.

In 2007, Ricordi became a part of Universal Music Publishing Classical (UMPC), which describes itself as “the European leader in classical music publishing.” Other members of the UMPC are the Editions Durand-Salabert-Eschig in Paris and Editio Musica Budapest.

(Have you ever noticed that the Italian word fantastici sounds a lot more fantastic than its English translation?)


My photos in this post are from 2008. I revised the text in 2018.

See more posts on the composers Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868),
Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835), Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848),
Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) and Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924).

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