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Subject: Re: More Tommasini on Traviata
From: Premiere Opera <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Premiere Opera <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 5 Apr 2010 11:56:03 -0400
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Both Cleva and Santi indeed were imposing maestros, and Santi is still
somewhat active in Zurich.

Like Armiliato today, neither used a score to conduct. These gentlemen were
steeped in the opera tradition, with Cleva starting as an assistant
conductor at the Met, and, I think, perhaps chorus master for a brief period
in the 40's.

No less than Richard Tucker always called Cleva "the Dean of Italian opera,"
and Tucker meant that as the highest compliment. He learned a good number of
his roles under Cleva in the 40's and 50's.

I knew both Cleva and Santi, though in the case of Cleva, not very well. I
did know his daughter, Wally, quite well. I knew Santi and his wife Gabby
much better than I knew Cleva, and we shared many meals and get togethers.
The Maestro could and would play anything from opera that anybody requested.
I was once with a group in an Italian restaurant in SF, and he was asked to
play the piano. Though reluctant, he finally did, and played request after
request by heart. This man knew every note of every opera from memory, and I
am sure he still does.

He began conducting when Gigli was still singing, and conducted for the
great tenor a number of times.

I think Marco Armiliato is similar today, but can think of no one else as
all knowing and open and generous, and a real singers conductor without
making the opera suffer!

Best,
Ed

On Mon, Apr 5, 2010 at 10:28 AM, Rich Lowenthal
<[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> Tommasini has more on the Slatkin Traviata, and for good measure reflects
> on three historic recordings.
>
> The article finishes,
> "Mr. Slatkin's mistake was to accept the "Traviata" gig in the first place.
> No musician can be good at everything. He had nothing to prove. Still, his
> trouble made me think back to those Italian house conductors I heard at the
> Met in my youth, like Fausto Cleva and Nello Santi. They may not have been
> imposing maestros, but they knew a thing or two about Verdi."
>
>
>
> Link at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/05/arts/music/05traviata.html?hpw
>
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