You may have the universe if I may have Italy.
I adore art... when I am alone with my notes, my heart pounds and the tears stream from my eyes, and my emotion and my joys are too much to bear.
The success of our operas rests most of the time in the hands of the conductor. This person is as necessary as a tenor or a prima donna.
It is better to invert reality than to copy it.
It may be a good thing to copy reality; but to invent reality is much, much better.
Of all composers, past and present, I am the least learned. I mean that in all seriousness, and by learning I do not mean knowledge of music.
Oh, you happy sons of the North who have been reared at the bosom of Bach, how I envy you!
I order that my funeral ceremonies be extremely modest, and that they take place at dawn or at the evening Ave Maria, without song or music.
Our mistake, you see, was to write interminable large operas, which had to fill an entire evening. And now along comes someone with a one or two-act opera without all that pompous nonsense - that was a happy reform.
The artist must yield himself to his own inspiraton, and if he has a true talent, no one knows and feels better than he what suits him.
I deny that either singers or conductors can create or work creatively - this, as I have always said, is a conception that leads to the abyss.
Oh blessed a thousand times the peasant who is born, eats and dies without anybody bothering about his affairs.