This past weekend in Milan, the weather continued to cover the city in a grey, rainy and cold pall, which found me inside, snuggled next to our lovely plasma.
During my fervent channel-flipping, I stumbled onto a few illuminating programs, including an interview with Franco Zeffirelli (a.k.a “frengo”) and a sweet documentary on Claudio Abbado.
First up was Rai Tre's "Che tempo che fa", with host Fabio Fazio, where he conducted an interview with Franco Zeffirelli, in order to draw hype for his new autobiography, which will be available from Mondadori later this week.
Fazio simply asked for reiteration of the previous anecdotes that Franco divulged in last Sunday’s Corriere della Sera article. Franco obliged, but this time with a bit more detail: For instance, do you remember the story about when Visconti sent Franco to Paris, and upon meeting Mademoiselle Coco Chanel, she gave to him twelve original, signed Matisse drawings? Well, Zeffirelli divulged to Fazio that he sold eight of the twelve, and the other four were stolen. um, okay, frengo...i believe you.
However, new to the anecdotes was a narration about Franco visiting Dublin with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton for the filming of “The Taming of the Shrew", when pandemonium erupted, and Franco played the hero during a very tense, but comical standoff between the culprit of Liz Taylor’s penchant for exotic rodents and the incompetence of drunken husbands. The story, which involves Franco, Liz, Richard Burton, and Liz's mutinous bush baby escaping from its cage, can only be retold with the true authority of Mr. Zeffirelli himself. My favorite part?:
Zeffirelli retold the magnificent story with a sense of mischievous wonder and vibrancy, with his eyes sparkling in an affable manner. He was a true pleasure to watch during the interview, and at eighty-three, he still has loads of charisma and charm.
Next up was a lovely one-hour documentary on Rai Due with the Milan-born Maestro Claudio Abbado and his youthful brigade of Bologna's Orchestra Mozart. The documentary from 2006 shows interviews with the frail Abbado and his robust youth orchestra, and details the lasting impressions of Abbado that have been left with the young musicians. The documentary "Allegro con Spirito: Claudio Abbado e l’Orchestra Mozart" provided to be a nice reward for staying-in during a totally un-fab weekend. /not a loser.
(I made a photo album of a few select screen-shots, which you can find here.)