Saturday, 15 June 2019

The maestro departs




"I have always believed that opera is a planet where the muses work together, join hands and celebrate all the arts."

"All the problems of the world are caused by people who do not listen."


Allora addio, Signor Franco Zeffirelli...



One of the greatest artistic talents of the theatrical and cinematic world to emerge from Italy [he began as an assistant - and lover - of the legendary Luchino Visconti], in his long career he won awards for his direction (and stage set designs) in numerous operatic productions across the world (including at La Scala Milan, New York Met and the Royal Opera House), and was lauded for his cinematic adaptations of operas and, especially, the works of Shakespeare.



Zeffirelli became world-famous for his version of The Taming of the Shrew with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, was nominated for an Oscar for Romeo and Juliet, and went on to produce Hamlet with Mel Gibson and Glenn Close. In between, he also made the memorable TV series Jesus of Nazareth and Brother Sun, Sister Moon (about the life of St Francis of Assisi) - and turned his hand to more "mainstream" films such as The Champ and Endless Love (that spawned the Lionel Richie/Diana Ross mega-hit of the same name), and also the faboo Tea With Mussolini.

Another towering artistic genius has left the building.

"His take on Shakespeare’s tragedy tapped the zeitgeist, but Zeffirelli’s whole body of work pulsated with an irresistible camp..." - Peter Bradshaw

He will be missed.

RIP, Gian Franco Corsi Zeffirelli KBE, Grande Ufficiale OMRI (12th February 1923 – 15th June 2019)

6 comments:

  1. I remember seeing R&J in 1969; STILL a great film!

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    1. He had the knack of making everything memorable - it might be obscure, but I still fondly remember seeing the "Francis of Assisi" film when I was a mere whelp, and its visuals having a huge impact upon me... Jx

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  2. I love that film so much. Very big part of my childhood, we had it on vhs and watched it loads of times. My brother visited Assisi with his school and saw St Francis church. And it was the first time that I ever heard the legendary Donovan. (I cried as a child as I thought his fame would be eclipsed by that of Jason Donovan - thankfully that has not come to pass.)

    His Romeo and Juliet is great too

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    1. It fitted perfectly with the "hippie ascetic/aesthetic", so Donovan was probably the most appropriate artist to create the soundtrack for Brother Sun, Sister Moon... Jx

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  3. He certainly was very handsome. I think I heard a bit of him on the radio here on one of our public shows. It was an interview from years ago, but still he sounded fascinating.

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    1. He certainly crammed a lot in during his long career. To coin a phrase. Jx

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