Bruno Bartoletti

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Bruno Bartoletti

Bruno Bartoletti (Sesto Fiorentino, 10 June 1926 – Florence, 9 June 2013 [1] ) was an Italian operatic conductor. His active international career lasted from 1953 to 2007, and he specialized in the Italian repertory and contemporary works. He was particularly noted for his 51-year association with Lyric Opera of Chicago, as co-artistic director, artistic director, principal conductor, and artistic director emeritus. He also served as Artistic Director of both the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma (1965–1973) and the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (1985–1991), and as principal conductor of the Danish Royal Opera (1957–1960), [2] in addition to frequent work as a guest conductor at various major opera houses.

Sesto Fiorentino Comune in Tuscany, Italy

Sesto Fiorentino, known locally as just Sesto, is a municipality (comune) in the Metropolitan City of Florence, Tuscany, central Italy.

Florence Comune in Tuscany, Italy

Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with 383,084 inhabitants in 2013, and over 1,520,000 in its metropolitan area.

Conducting directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures

Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance, such as an orchestral or choral concert. It has been defined as "the art of directing the simultaneous performance of several players or singers by the use of gesture." The primary duties of the conductor are to interpret the score in a way which reflects the specific indications in that score, set the tempo, ensure correct entries by ensemble members, and "shape" the phrasing where appropriate. Conductors communicate with their musicians primarily through hand gestures, usually with the aid of a baton, and may use other gestures or signals such as eye contact. A conductor usually supplements their direction with verbal instructions to their musicians in rehearsal.


Life and career

Bartoletti's father was Umberto Bartoletti, a blacksmith, who also played clarinet in a Florence band. As a youth, Bartoletti played the piccolo. A teacher in Florence recognised the young Bartoletti's talent in music, and her husband, the sculptor Antonio Berti, recommended him to the Cherubini Conservatory. [3] There, he studied flute and piano.

Bartoletti later played in the orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, and subsequently became a staff pianist with the Teatro Comunale Florence, at its centre of vocal training. He was an assistant to such conductors as Artur Rodzinski, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Vittorio Gui and Tullio Serafin. In particular, Serafin encouraged Bartoletti to study conducting. [4] In December 1953, Bartoletti made his professional conducting debut at the Teatro Comunale with Rigoletto . In 1957, he became resident conductor of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, where his work included conducting the Italian premiere of Shostakovich's The Nose . Subsequently, Bartoletti was artistic director of the Rome Opera from 1965 to 1973. He returned to the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino as its artistic director from 1985 to 1991. [1] Elsewhere in Europe, Bartoletti served as principal conductor of the Royal Danish Opera from 1957 to 1960.

The Maggio Musicale Fiorentino is an annual Italian arts festival in Florence, including a notable opera festival, under the auspices of the Opera di Firenze. The festival occurs between late April into June annually, typically with four operas.

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Bartoletti made his US conducting debut with Lyric Opera of Chicago in 1956, conducting Il trovatore, as a replacement for the indisposed Serafin. In 1964, Bartoletti was named co-artistic director of Lyric Opera, alongside Pino Donati, and served jointly with Donati until 1974. In 1975, Bartoletti became sole artistic director, and held the post until his retirement in 1999. Following his retirement, he had the title of artistic director emeritus for the remainder of his life. Bartoletti began as Lyric Opera's principal conductor in 1964, [5] and served in that capacity until 1999. Over the period from 1956 to 2007, Bartoletti conducted approximately 600 performances of 55 operas with Lyric Opera, with his final conducting appearance at Lyric Opera in a 2007 production of La traviata . [6] His other notable conducting work at Lyric Opera included conducting the US premiere of Britten's Billy Budd in 1970, [4] and the 1978 world premiere of Krzysztof Penderecki's Paradise Lost .

Lyric Opera of Chicago non-profit organisation in the USA

Lyric Opera of Chicago is one of the leading opera companies in the United States. It was founded in Chicago in 1954, under the name 'Lyric Theatre of Chicago' by Carol Fox, Nicolà Rescigno and Lawrence Kelly, with a season that included Maria Callas's American debut in Norma. The company was re-organized by Fox in 1956 under its present name and, after her 1981 departure, it has continued to be of one of the major opera companies in the United States. The Lyric is housed in the Civic Opera Building, which the company now owns.

Pino Donati was an Italian composer and for many years artistic director of the Chicago Lyric Opera.

<i>La traviata</i> 1853 opera by Giuseppe Verdi

La traviata is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi set to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave. It is based on La Dame aux Camélias (1852), a play adapted from the novel by Alexandre Dumas fils. The opera was originally titled Violetta, after the main character. It was first performed on 6 March 1853 at the La Fenice opera house in Venice.

Bartoletti focused almost exclusively on opera in his career, with few conducting engagements in symphonic work. [3] He conducted several world premieres of works by composers such as Luciano Berio, Luigi Dallapiccola, Paul Dessau, Lodovico Rocca, Gian Francesco Malipiero, and Alberto Ginastera ( Don Rodrigo , 1964). His commercial recordings Ponchielli's La Gioconda , Puccini's Manon Lescaut , and La Cena delle Beffe of Umberto Giordano (from the Opernhaus, Zürich, in 1996), as well as DVDs of Death in Venice, La bohème, Giovanna d’Arco, Macbeth, La gazza ladra, and television films of La sonnambula and Tosca. [6]

Opera artform combining sung text and musical score in a theatrical setting

Opera is a form of theatre in which music has a leading role and the parts are taken by singers, but is distinct from musical theater. Such a "work" is typically a collaboration between a composer and a librettist and incorporates a number of the performing arts, such as acting, scenery, costume, and sometimes dance or ballet. The performance is typically given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble, which since the early 19th century has been led by a conductor.

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The Italian government had bestowed on Bartoletti the rank of Cavaliere di Gran Croce della Repubblica Italiana. He was also a member of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, and a winner of the Abbiati Prize. In his later years, Bartoletti taught at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena. His final operatic performance was a production of Manon Lescaut in February 2011. [2]

<i>Manon Lescaut</i> (Puccini) opera by Giacomo Puccini

Manon Lescaut is an opera in four acts by Giacomo Puccini, composed between 1890 and 1893. The story is based on the 1731 novel L'histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut by the Abbé Prévost. In 1884 an opera by Jules Massenet entitled Manon, and based on the same novel, was premiered and has also become popular.

Bartoletti was married to the former Rosanna Sandretti, an elementary-school teacher, from 1 July 1953 until her death on 2 August 2011. [7] The marriage produced two daughters, Chiara Bartoletti and Maria Poggi, who both survive Bartoletti. Other survivors include a sister, a brother, and five grandchildren, Livia, Filippo, Arianna, Margherita, and Nicolò.

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  1. 1 2 "E' morto Bruno Bartoletti". Cado In Piedi. 2013-06-09. Retrieved 2013-06-09.
  2. 1 2 "Bruno Bartoletti, Longtime Artistic Director of Lyric Opera of Chicago, Has Died". Opera News. 2013-06-09. Retrieved 2013-07-07.
  3. 1 2 Bruce Weber (2013-06-13). "Bruno Bartoletti, Maestro Who Shaped Lyric Opera of Chicago, Dies at 86". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
  4. 1 2 John von Rhein (June 9, 2013). "Bruno Bartoletti, longtime Lyric Opera director, dies". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
  5. Andrew Patner (2013-06-09). "Bruno Bartoletti, longtime Lyric Opera conductor, dies in Florence". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2013-07-07.
  6. 1 2 "Bruno Bartoletti, Lyric Opera of Chicago's Artistic Director Emeritus, June 10, 1926 – June 9, 2013" (Press release). Lyric Opera of Chicago. 9 June 2013. Archived from the original on 13 April 2014. Retrieved 2013-07-07.
  7. "Rosanna Bartoletti, 1927-2011" (Press release). Lyric Opera of Chicago. 2 August 2011. Archived from the original on 23 June 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-07.


Preceded by
(no predecessor)
Principal Conductor, Lyric Opera of Chicago
Succeeded by
Andrew Davis (music director)