Ruggero Leoncavallo (1857-1919) studied music at the Conservatory of Music in Naples and later studied literature in Bologna. Here he met Richard Wagner, already famous, who encouraged him to write operas as Gesamtkunstwerk (music and libretto). In 1876, while still a student, he wrote his first opera "Chatterton." Because his first few works were not successful, he struggled to make his living as a pianist in bars. He travelled through France and England and eventually landed in Egypt, where he took over the musical direction of several military bands. Pietro Mascagni's "Cavalleria Rusticana" influenced him to write "I Pagliacci", whose premiere in 1892 quickly made him famous worldwide. This opera, which today is still often performed in the same evening with "Cavalleria Rusticana" is considered the prototype of verismus opera (setting dramas of daily life to music). His later operas (including a commission from Kaiser Wilhelm II, "Der Roland von Berlin") unfortunately never attained the same level of success, and he lived modestly with little public notice in Italy until his death.