In today's Corriere della Sera, Nobel Laureate Dario Fo and conductors Riccardo Chailly and Francesco Maria Colombo remember their friend (and in Colombo's case, mentor) Gian Carlo Menotti.
Dario Fo (who often performed in Spoleto):
"They called him the Duke of Spoleto and he was a duke indeed: he had intellectual elegance, honesty, style: a gentleman of infinte culture and refinement, truly a Renaissance man. And a brave man: he protected me from censorship. His all-ecompassing intellect, his friendship with the best artists in the world turned Spoleto into a world-class Festival. He deserved a monument; instead, administrators unfit to run a drugstore tried to diminish his role and tried to disturb his work".
Francesco Maria Colombo, young conductor (the first-ever US performance of Mercadante's Orazi e Curiazi in Minneapolis last year, a recent, acclaimed Trovatore in Cremona) and sometimes blogger and former music critic for Corriere della Sera who was convinced by Menotti to devote himself full-time to conducting:
"He changed my life. He gave me Thomas Schippers's baton as a sign of his trust in my abilities. He was a fascinating man, he had rubbed shoulders with History for his entire life: a friend of Chaplin and Cocteau, he went sailing with Garbo and was Jacqueline Kennedy's dinner companion... He had the gift of simultaneous lightness and depth. A great composer, with a knack for tenderness that is unique in the 20th century. Too often Italy has forgotten his greatness".
"There was nobody like Menotti: his unique ability to live between cultures, Italy and the USA, and create a common musical language. Il Telefono, a genius score that is still fresh, is an example of Menotti's greatness. A giant of the 20th century".
La Repubblica reports a great story: on Easter Day, 2001, Gian Carlo Menotti had dinner with Martin Scorsese, discussing a project that, sadly, never materialised but is boggling Opera Chic's Verdi-loving mind: a Scorsese-directed Trovatore in Spoleto.