|Carlo Felice Cillario (7 February
1915 – 13 December 2007) was an Argentinian-born Italian conductor of international
Born Carlos Felix Cillario in San Rafael, Mendoza, Argentina, he went to Italy in 1923, where he studied the violin and composition at the Bologna Conservatorio. He hoped to become a soloist but a wrist injury playing soccer made him turn to conducting. He made his conducting debut in 1942 in Odessa. During the war, he returned to Argentina, where he conducted the Symphonic Orchestra of the University of Tucuman.
Upon his return to Italy, he founded the Bologna Chamber Orchestra in 1946, and reserved a major portion of his time to opera, conducting at the opera houses of Rome, Turin, Florence, Milan, etc. He quickly began appearing outside Italy, notably in Athens, Berlin, Oslo and Paris.
The year 1961 saw his debuts in England, at the Glyndebourne Festival in L'elisir d'amore, and in the United States, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in La Forza del Destino, later conducting The Barber of Seville, La Cenerentola, La favorita and La bohème. In 1964, he made his debut at the Royal Opera House in London at the request of Maria Callas, conducting her now famous series of Tosca performances with Tito Gobbi. Debuts at the San Francisco Opera followed in 1970 (Tosca) and at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 1972 (La sonnambula).
He became one of the favorite conductors of Montserrat Caballé, conducting at her Covent Garden debut in 1972 (La traviata with Nicolai Gedda and Victor Braun), in a London concert performance of Caterina Cornaro, and shortly after in an RCA studio recording of Norma.
Carlo began conducting seasonally in Australia in 1968, working with the Australian Opera (now Opera Australia) at the Sydney Opera House, becoming principal guest conductor in 1988, before retiring in 2003; leaving behind a legacy of musicianship and phrasing evident in his surviving music scores at the Opera Australia library.
Carlo Felice Cilliaro stands as one of the most singer-friendly of all conductors, a reassuring and solid presence both in the opera house and in the recording studio.
He died in 2007, in Bologna, Italy.
-- Throughout this page, names which are links refer to my interviews elsewhere on this website. BD
Carlo Felice Cillario at Lyric Opera of Chicago
1961 - La Forza del Destino with Farrell, Bergonzi, Guelfi, Christoff, Cesari, Ludwig
Barber of Seville with Simionato, Bruscantini, Alva, Corena, Christoff
1962 - La Bohème with Rubio/Sighele, Tucker, Zanasi, Moynagh, Wildermann/Christoff, Cesari, Corena
Tosca with Crespin, Zampieri, Gobbi, Cesari, Corena
L'elisir d'amore with Adani, Kraus, Zanasi, Corena
1963 - Barber of Seville with Berganza, Zanasi, Kraus, Corena, Christoff
Don Pasquale with Adani, Kraus, Bruscantini, Corena
1964 - La Favorita with Cossotto, Kraus, Bruscantini, Vinco
La Cenerentola with Berganza, Casellato, Bruscantini, Tadeo, Cesari
1965 - La Bohème with Freni, Corelli, Bruscantini, Ariè, Martelli, Cesari, Tadeo
Madama Butterfly with Scotto, Cioni, Bruscantini, Casei, de Palma
Aïda with Price/Lee, Lamberti, Cossotto, Bastianini/Colzani, Vinco
1982 - La voix humaine with Barstow; and Pagliacci with Barstow, Vickers, MacNeil, Carlson, Gordon
Monsignor Lorenzo Perosi (21 December 1872 – 12 October 1956) was an Italian composer of sacred music and the only member of the Giovane Scuola who did not write opera. In the late 1890s, while he was still only in his 20s, Perosi was an internationally celebrated composer of sacred music, especially large-scale oratorios. Nobel Prize winner Romain Rolland wrote: "It's not easy to give you an exact idea of how popular Lorenzo Perosi is in his native country." Perosi's fame was not restricted to Europe. A 19 March 1899 New York Times article entitled "The Genius of Don Perosi" began: "The great and ever-increasing success which has greeted the four new oratorios of Don Lorenzo Perosi has placed this young priest-composer on a pedestal of fame which can only be compared with that which has been accorded of late years to the idolized Pietro Mascagni by his fellow-countrymen." Gianandrea Gavazzeni made the same comparison: "The sudden clamors of applause, at the end of the [19th] century, were just like those a decade earlier for Mascagni." Perosi worked for five Popes, including Pope St. Pius X who greatly fostered his rise.
According to biographer Graziella Merlatti, Perosi was the most prolific composer of sacred music of the 20th century. According to musicologist Arturo Sacchetti's estimate, Perosi composed 3,000-4,000 works. A great many still await publication; some have not yet been located.
Despite the relative obscurity of his name today, Perosi was a prominent member of the Giovane Scuola, of which the most important Verismo composers or Veristi (Puccini, Mascagni, Leoncavallo, Giordano, and Cilea) were all considered members. An entire chapter is dedicated to Perosi in Romain Rolland's Musiciens d’Aujourd’hui (1899). Perosi was deeply admired not only by Rolland and by the above-named Veristi, but also by Boito, Toscanini, and many others. Caruso sang his music, as did Sammarco, Tagliabue, Gigli, and other great singers from that era, and also quite a few in modern times, such as Fiorenza Cossotto, Mirella Freni, Renato Capecchi, and fellow Tortonese Giuseppe Campora. His French admirers included Debussy, Massenet, Guilmant and d'Indy.
This conversation was recorded in Chicago on November 8, 1982. Portions were broadcast on WNIB 1986, 1990, 1995, and 2000. This transcription was made in 2015, and posted on this website at that time. My thanks to British soprano Una Barry for her help in preparing this website presentation.
To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here.
Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001. His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM, as well as on Contemporary Classical Internet Radio.You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests. He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago. You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.