Maestro Gian Carlo Menotti died today in Monte Carlo. He was 95 years old.
NPR: Menotti, Cultural Giant
Los Angeles Times obit
Italian President Giorgio Napolitano in a statement just paid tribute to Menotti's "unique artistic genius".
2001 Andante appreciation here: Gian Carlo Menotti at 90
The last hurrah: Italian radio reports that Menotti appeared last in public on Dec 10, 2006, in Rome, at Parco della Musica: he was in the audience at the performance of his Concert in F, conducted by James Conlon.
(photo above credit Festival Dei Due Mondi)
Alex Ross on Menotti's legacy here
Tim Page on Menotti
Menotti in 2001, in a long Corriere della Sera (July 8 issue) profile for his 90th birthday: "Why did I embark in such an adventure? Why Spoleto? (ed: he's talking about the birth of his Spoleto Festival) Because in my 50s, I felt guilty: I wanted to rebel against the idea of the artist as entertainer, as society's clown. I wanted to show again that artists are an asset for society and, why not, for the economy as well. I wanted to be useful. I chose Spoleto".
In the interview Menotti explained how he managed to convince artists to work for a non-profit like Spoleto, how he talked Henry Moore into creating sets and costumes for a 1967 Don Giovanni for free (in the end, Moore even donated 5,000 dollars to the Festival coffers: Menotti after all had just sold one of his Modiglianis to raise funds for the Festival), how he convinced famously wary -- and canny businessman -- Luchino Visconti into directing Manon Lescaut for even less than room and board (just the use of a small apartment in Spoleto for the season). Once, Richard Burton, Thomas Schippers, Leonard Bernstein and Menotti raffled off a dinner date with them to raise funds for the Festival. (ed: Opera Chic now feels that she HAS to write a play about that night: "My Dinner With Lenny, Tommy, Rick and Gian Carlo")
Menotti re: his massive popularity abroad: "I've always traveled with an Italian passport: sono italiano".
Menotti re: his method. "I owe a huge debt to Puccini: he taught me how to use the parlar cantando, how not to split an opera into recitativi and arias blocking the action."
Menotti re: the composer who impressed him the most. "Schubert".
Menotti re: Boulez. "A con man who writes unreadable, nonsensical books".
Menotti re: Luigi Nono. "He said I was a tool of American Imperialism".