Luigi Denza (February 24, 1846 - January 26, 1922), was an Italian composer.
Denza was born at Castellammare di Stabia, near Naples. He studied music under Saverio Mercadante and Paolo Serrao at the Naples Conservatory. Later, he moved to London and became a professor of singing at the Royal Academy of Music in 1898. Denza wrote an opera, Wallenstein, and hundreds of songs. The most popular of these was a collaboration with Peppino Turco, the Neapolitan song Funiculì, Funiculà, about the Vesuvius funicular. . Other songs such as "Luna fedel", "Occhi di fata", and "Se" have been sung by Mario Lanza, Luciano Pavarotti, Carlo Bergonzi, Enrico Caruso and Ronan Tynan.
Six years after Funiculì, Funiculà was composed, German composer Richard Strauss heard the song while on a tour of Italy. Thinking that it was a traditional Italian folk song, he later incorporated it into his Aus Italien symphony. To his great embarrassment, Strauss realised his mistake when an angry Denza filed a lawsuit against him. Denza won the lawsuit, and Strauss was forced to pay him a royalty fee every time the Aus Italien was performed in public.
Luigi Denza died in 1922 in London.
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