A tribute to Maestro Bonavolontà, by Liliana Osses Adams, part two

It is worthy to mention two early live recordings of operas (now transferred to CD), by Umberto Giordano (1867-1948) and Ruggero Leoncavallo (1858-1919), under the baton of Nino Bonavolontà.
1.Umberto Giordano’s La Cena della Beffe (The Jester’s Supper or The Dinner of Mockers), the lyric drama in four acts, on libretto by playwright Sem Benelli (1877-1949), depicts the Renaissance Florence and recounts the passionate and crude rivalry of two Florentine noblemen: Giannetto Malespini and Neri Chiaramantesi for affection of the beautiful Ginevra. The opera has never achieved the success of Giordano’s Andrea Chénier or Fedora, although it attracted famous singers like Beniamino Gigli, Adam (Adamo) Didur and Lawrence Tibbett, and also great actors such as John and Lionel Berrymore’s performing on Broadway, and Sarah Bernhardt in Paris. Following the première on December 29, 1924, under Arturo Toscanini at Teatro alla Scala di Milano, the opera has been produced from Buenos Aires and Barcelona to Prague, Chicago, and Warsaw. In time passing, the music and quasi grotesque plot received and reflected a critical judgment.
On December 5, 1972, Radiotelevisione Italiana RAI di Milano, broadcasted the live performance of Giordano’s La Cena della Beffe, under the baton of Nino Bonavolontà with Symphony Orchestra and Chorus RAI of Milan. The cast included: Amedeo (also spelled Amadeo or Giuseppe) Zambon as Giannetto Malespini, Giangiacomo Guelfi as Neri Chiaramantesi, Angela (also spelled Anna) Maria Rosati as Ginevra, Dino Formichini as Gabriello Chiaramantesi, followed by Plinio Clabassi, Miwako Kuo Matsumoto (also listed as Miwako Matsumoto), Giuseppe Morresi, Angelo Marchiandi, Alfredo Mariotti, Vittorina Magnaghi, Bianca Bortoluzzi, Franco Ghitti, Angelo Degli’Innocenti and Giuseppe Zacchillo, famed baritone and poet. (Available on 2CDs. Label: Opera d’Oro, released 2007).
2. Ruggero Leoncavallo wrote La Bohème in 1897, concurrently with the Giacomo Puccini opera under the same title. The two operas were based on the novel “Scènes de la vie de bohème” (Scenes of the Bohemian Life), published in 1851 by Henry Murger (1822-1861) with libretti in Italian. Leoncavallo’s opera in four acts with text written by composer, received its première at Teatro La Fenice in Venice on May 6, 1897. The French version of the libretto, translated by Eugène Crosti (1833-1908), premièred at the Théâtre Lyrique de la Renessaince in Paris, on October 19, 1899. While Puccini’s La Bohème in four acts, composed in 1896, on libretto by Luigi Illica (1857-1919) became a standard in the operatic repertoire, the Leoncavallo opera received only modest success.
On March 27, 1975, at the Grand Auditorium de la Maison de Radio-France, Ruggero Leoncavallo’s performance of La Bohème (in French version), was live broadcast and recorded under the baton of Maestro Nino Bonavolontà, with orchestra and chorus of ORTF.
The cast lined up: Édith Tremblay (Mimi), Robert Currier-Christesen (Rodolfo, baritone in this version) Anita Terzian (Mussetta, mezzo-soprano in this version), Alain Vanzio (Marcello, tenor,  a protagonist in this version), Jacques Trigeau (Schaunard), Edourd Tumagian (Colline, baritone in this version), and José Venezia, Amélia Salvetti, Michel Roux, and Gérard Quenez.
(Available on 2 CDs. Label: Vals-les-bains: De PleinVent edition, distributed in 1990 by the l’Institut National de l’Audiovisual (INA).

Throughout Maestro Nino Bonavolontà’s half century long career, he collaborated with dozens of musicians, dancers, and singers of international renown, to name a few: Ettore Bastianini, Luciano Pavarotti, Alfredo Kraus, Josè Carreras, Flaviano Labo, Nicola Martinucci, Carlo Bergonzi, Piero Cappuccilli, Franco Bonisolli, Carlo Cava, Renato Francesconi, Enrico Gavarini, Antonio Boyer, Giorgio Merighi, Giancarlo Luccardi, Michele Molese, Piero Francia, Alan Vanzio, Victor Brown, Robert Currier-Christesen, Enzo Di Cesare, Rolando Panerai, Renato Cioni, Plinio Cabassi, Dino Formichini, Giangiacomo Guelfi, Angelo Marchiandi, Alfredo Mariotti, Giuseppe Morresi, Amedeo Zambon, Cesare Bardelli, Giuseppe Zecchillo, Giorgio Zancanaro, Gianfranco Cecchele, Ottavio Garaventa, Nicola Rossi-Lemeni, and his wife, Virginia Zeani, Laura Didier-Gambardella, Fedora Barbieri, Lucille Udovich, Maria Chiara, Rita Lantieri, Marcella Pobbe, Mafalda Masini, Lorenza Canepa, Anna Di Stasio, Adriana Maliponte, Anita Terzin, Édith Tremblay, Ghena Dimitrova, Raina Kabaivanska, Teresa Berganza, Katia Ricciarelli, Luciana Serra, Guisy Devinu, Mariella Devia, Maria Casula, Corinna Vozza, and Elisabetta Scano; those names were also joined by the pianists: Sergio Perticaroli, Franco Mannino, Aldo Ciccolini, Giuseppe Binasco, the violinist Uto Ughi, the cellist Franco Maggio Ormezowski, the piano duo of Gino Gorini-Sergio Lorenzi, the mandolinist Giuseppe Anedda, the ballerina Carla Fracci, and Paola Leoni, (d. November 13, 2011), prima ballerina and choreographer, who created Balleto di Sardegna (1982), among others.

Here are a few samples of video clips circulating at tubes of the artists cited above, and Maestro Bonavolontà’s briefly noted recordings and live performances:
On June 19, 1987, Nino Bonavolontà led the performance of Raina Kabaivanska and Orchestra della Radiotelevisione della Svizzera Italiana, recorded at Palazzo dei Congressi in Lugano with music selection from Gioachino Rossini, Giuseppe Verdi, Giacomo Puccini, and Francesco Cilèa. You tube: Nino Bonavolontà conducting Verdi’s Prelude from La Traviata (act III)

Raina Kabaivanska: “Quando me’n vo’soletta” (When I walk alone down the street), from Puccini’s La Bohème, also known as Musetta’s Waltz

In 1990, Nino Bonavolontà conducted Teresa Berganza in Manuel de Falla’s Siete canciones populares españolas with Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana at Palazzo dei Congressi, recorded in Lugano. De Falla originally wrote the Seven Spanish Popular Songs for voice and piano in 1914. He dedicated the music to Madame Ida (Maria, Zofia, Olga, Zenajda) Godebska (1872-1950), a pianist of Polish descent, also known as Misia Natanson Sert, a hostess of the literary-artistic salon in Paris, a muse and confident to a number of artists, musicians, composers, poets, writers, and painters. In 1978, Luciano Berio (1925-2003) transcribed the songs for mezzo-soprano and orchestra in the cycle of seven: Al paño moruno, Seguidilla murciana, Asturiana, Jota, Nana, Cancion, and Polo.

The label Fabula Classica under RTSI license (Radio Televisione Svizzera Italiana, 2004), released 4 CDs in “The Lyrica Collection”, follow by the box-set of 4 DVDs, “Live in Concert 1985-1990”, with music selection from Giuseppe Verdi, Gioachino Rossini, Giacomo Puccini, Pietro Mascagni, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Georges Bizet, Francesco Cilèa, and Manuel de Falla, under the musical direction by conductors Nino Bonavolontà and Bruno Amaducci with Orchestra della Radiotelevisione della Svizzera Italiana (issued on May 27, 2008). The performers included: Carlo Bergonzi under direction of Bruno Amaducci (originally recorded November 20, 1981), DVD1, Raina Kabaivanska under direction of Nino Bonavolonà, DVD2, Mirella Freni and Cesare Siepi under direction of Bruno Amaducci, DVD3, and Teresa Berganza under direction of Nino Bonavolontà, DVD4.
On January 1, 1967, Nino Bonavolontà was at the podium for Luciano Pavarotti’s first RAI live performance with an early career recording of Rodolfo’s aria “Oh! Fede negar potessi…Quando le sere al placido” (act II, scene 3) from Verdi’s Luisa Miller; listen at tube: “Luisa Miller Luciano Pavarotti RAI di Roma, 1 January 1967”; also available in CD Album: Pavarotti – The Early Years, Vol.2.
As early as February, 1967, Luciano Pavarotti recorded with RAI-Orchestra Sinfonica della RAI di Roma, under Nino Bonavolontà, four arias from: Puccini’s La Bohème “Che gelida manina”, Verdi’s Luisa Miller “Quando le sere al placido”, Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’amore “Una furtiva lagrima”, and Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor “Fra poco a me ricovero” – all circulated on tubes or studio-issued recordings in separate CDs albums.
The rendition of Nemorino’s romanza “Una furtiva lagrima” (act II, scene 8) from Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’amore sung by Luciano Pavarotti under the baton of Nino Bonavolontà is also included in CD “Essential 3 Tenors: Carreras, Domingo, and Pavarotti.
On August 29, 1994, Luciano Pavarotti sang the aria of Rodolfo “Che gelida manina” (act I) from Puccini’s La Bohème, conducted by Nino Bonavolontà with Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma; also available in CD Album: Pavarotti – The Early Years Vol.1.
Luciano Pavarotti (1935-2007), debuted in 1961 as Rodolfo (replacing Giuseppe di Stefano) in Puccini’s La Bohème at Teatro Romolo Valli di Reggio Emilia (in the vicinity of Modena), under conductor Francesco Molinari-Pradelli.
In 1963, Nino Bonavolontà conducted Orchestra Sinfonica della RAI di Roma in live performance by Ettore Bastianini (1922-1967) in the aria “Tel dissi Lodoletta” sung by Giannotto (act II) in the almost forgotten lyric opera in three acts by Pietro Mascagni, Lodoletta, on libretto by Giovacchino Forzano (1884-1970), based on the novel “Two Little Wooden Shoes” written by Marie Louise de la Ramée (Ouida); first performed at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome under the composer, on April 30, 1917.
On February 21, 1966, Nino Bonavolontà conducted Orchestra Sinfonica RAI of Turin in a rare Italian version recording of Richard Wagner’s Il Divieto d’Amare (The prohibition of love), originally entitled Das Lebesverbot or Die Novices von Palermo, the musical drama in two acts, composed in 1834, based on the William Shakespeare comedy Measure for Measure.
(“Wagner in Italian”, Archive RAI Radio 3).
In 1975, video INA (Institut National Audiovisual) released the following Live Concerts under direction of Nino Bonavolontà with the Radio-France Chamber Orchestra (ORTF):
Concerto pour deux violins et cordes en mi mineur de Philipp Jarnach (after the old manuscript of Giovanni Benedetto Platti (1697-1763), with violinists Rodrigue Milosi and Daniel Remy, July 9, 1975;
Ottorino Respighi’s Danses antique pour orchestra à cordes, January 30, 1975;
Giacomo Carissimi’s Jephté (oratorio for chamber orchestra and choir) with soloists Henriette Puig-Roget (organ), François Morin (violin), and Michel Gonzales (harp), May 28, 1975.
Tito Aprèa (1904-1989) plays Debussy’s L’isle joyeuse, recorded in 1962, at the archive of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia di Roma; listen also to Bruno Aprea, artistic director and conductor at the Palm Beach Opera in Florida, remembering his father, Tito Aprèa.
Alessandra Atzori: Bastiano e Bastiana (an excerpt from 1978); her spiritual singing “Nobody knows”; Bach in Jazz: the performance of the “Cantata” by composer Enrico Pasini in 1992.  
Gianluca Floris, who began to study opera singing under the guidance of Alessandra Atzori in 1988, and his Il debuto (debut) of 1989, singing “Questa o quella” from Verdi’s Rigoletto; Gianluca Floris’s singing Seguidilla from Bizet’s Carmen, Cagliari 1989;
La Bohème: Auditorium del Conservatorio with Giampaolo Piga as Rodolfo and Giudo Mazzini as Marcello in act III, conducted by Nino Bonavolontà;
La Boheme 2, Duet, act III Finale: Rodolfo Giampaolo Piga and Mimi “Donte lieta usci” in conducting by Nino Bonavolontà;
Search also performances of Francesco Demuro and his “Oh! Fede negar potessi…Quando le sere al placido” from Verdi’s Luisa Miller, recently performed on November 5, 2011, at The Grand Opera Gala held in Berlin in support of the AIDS Foundation under direction of Donald Runnicles with choir and orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin; also in duo with Simone Kermes singing Francesco Sartori’s “Con Te Partiro” (Time to Say Goodbye).
Over the years, Maestro Bonavolontà performed at major (and provincial) opera houses and concert halls throughout Italy, and toured Europe, South America and the Middle East, giving concerts in the Soviet Union and Japan to the acclaim and great consensus of the public and critics, as well.
Nino Bonavolontà’s prospect, pp.1/4
Courtesy Liliana Osses Adams
Nino Bonavolontà’s prospect, pp.2/3
Courtesy Liliana Osses Adams

This section documenting Maestro Bonavolontà’s directing appearances as guest conductor (the list is not intended to be definitive):
On 21 July 1960, Maestro Bonavolontà conducted Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci at the Roman Baths of Caracalla (Terme di Caracalla di Roma). In 1972, he again conducted Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci at Terme di Caracalla. The cast lined up: Paola Scanabucci (Nedda in 1960), Mafalda Micheluzzi, Giancarlo Luccardi, Guido Mazzini, and Giampiero Malaspina.
On March 1, 1962, Nino Bonavolontà conducted Verdi’s La Traviata at Teatro Piccini di Bari with cast Virginia Zeani as Violetta Valéry, Lorenzo Panzieri as Alfredo Germont, and Piero Cappuccilli as Giorgio Germont.
On November 8, 1963, he conducted Verdi’s La Traviata at Terme di Caracalla in Rome with cast Virginia Zeani (Violetta Valéry), Renato Cioni/Angelo Mori (Alfredo Germont), Mario Sereni/Giovanni Ciminelli/Attilio D’Orazi (Giorgio Germont).
On July 23, 1968, Nino Bonavolontà was at the podium for Verdi’s Il Trovatore with cast Carla Ferrario, Franca Mattiucci and Antonio Boyer.
On March 29, 1969, he conducted Puccini’s Tosca at Teatro di San Carlo in Naples with cast Marcella Pobbe as Tosca, Flaviano Labò as Cavaradossi, and Cesare Bardelli in the role of Scarpia.
On January 12, replicated 14, 16, 18, 20, 1972, Maestro Bonavolontà was at the podium for Josè Carreras Italian debut as Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Bohème (recorded live on January 18, 1972), at Teatro Regio di Parma with double cast including: Josè Carreras/Umberto Grilli (Rodolfo), Vilma Vernocchi/Katia Ricciarelli (Mimi), Piero Francia/Otello Bersellini (Marcello), Mila Zanlari/Wilma Colla (Mussetta), and Giancarlo Luccardi, Maurizio Mazzieri, Tito Tortura, Renzo Gonzales, Franco Federici, and Ivan Del Manto, in production by Beppe De Tomasi.
On August 19, 1973, he conducted Puccini’s Manon Lescaut at Torre del Lago Opera Festival with Virginia Zeani (Manon Lescaut), Michele Molese (Des Grieux), Rolando Panerai (Lescaut).
On 31 July, 1974, Nino Bonavolontà was at the podium for Verdi’s Aidaat Terme di Caracalla in Rome. The cast included: Virginia Zeani (Aida), Laura Didier-Gambardella (Amneris), Renato Francesconi (Radamès), Mario Rinaudo (Ramfis), and Antonio Boyer (Amonasro).
On July, 1974, at the Puccini’s Festival in Torre del Lago, Nino Bonavolontà conducted Puccini’s Turandot with cast Adriana Maliponte/Danika Mastilowic (Turandot), Emma Renzi (Liù), Amedeo Zambon (Calàf), and Giancarlo Luccardi (Timur), in stage production by Dario Michali.
On July, 1978, Maestro Bonavolontà appeared during the Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago for the performance of  Madama Butterfly with the following cast: Maria Chiara/Lorenza Canepa (Cio-Cio-San), Anna Di Stasio (Suzuki), Ottavio Garaventa/Giorgio Merighi (B. F. Pinkerton), and Antonio Boyer (Sharpless), directed by Giovanni Miglioli.
On January 24, replicated 28, 31, 1979, Nino Bonavolontà conducted Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera at Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari with cast Ottavio Garaventa (Riccardo), Ghena Dimitrova (Amelia), Piero Cappuccilli (Renato), Lella Samos (Ulrica), in production of Renzo Frusca.
On June 16, 1985, Nino Bonavolontà was at the podium for Verdi’s Rigoletto at the Auditorium del Conservatorio in Cagliari (Details unknown).
In autumn of 1988, Katia Ricciarelli was applauded as Bellini’s Norma at the Auditorium del Conservatorio, and then in July, 1990, at the Roman Amphitheatre in Cagliari when she played Leonora in Verdi’s Il Trovatore. In May 1993, Orchestra dell’Istituzione headed by Nino Bonavolontà performed with Katia Ricciarelli at Nuovo Teatro Comunale in Cagliari (Details unknown).
On March 30, 1994, Nino Bonavolontà led Orchestra del Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia in Rome with Andrea Bocelli and Katia Ricciarelli in the recording session for “Silenzi, no”, an album, distributed on CDs and DVDs to promote peace and help in reconstruction of destroyed areas in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The creative team of artists involved in production received a private audience by Pope Jean Paul II in Vatican. There were presented by Giuseppe (Pippo) Baudo (television presenter and a former husband of Katia Ricciarelli), Catarina Caselli (record producer), Stefano Scartocci in collaboration of Pietro Lomartire and Enrica Bonaccori (lyrics author).
(Source: Archive La Repubblica, 30/03/94,Vatican City “Katia e Bocelli dal Papa Per l’Album sulla Bosnia” (Katia and Bocelli for the Pope’Album on Bosnia).

Andrea Bocelli aficionados would likely note his operatic stage debut on September 24, replicated 25, 26, 27, 1994, as Macduff in Verdi’s Macbeth at Teatro Verdi di Pisa, under conductor Claudio Desderi, and stage production by Patricia Gracis. On August 3, 2002, he appeared as B. F. Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly during the Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago, than on July 24 and 30, 2004, as Cavaradossi in Puccini’s Tosca at the Festival in Torre del Lago; on January 24, replicated 25, 27, and 29, 2004, as Werther in Massenet’s Werther opposite Julia Gertseva as Charlotte at Teatro Comunale in Bologna. On June 17, 2008, he appeared as Don Josè in Bizet’s Carmen at Teatro dell’Opera di Roma. On February 15-27, 1998, he has sung his beloved role as Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Bohème, opposite Danida Dessi as Mimi at Teatro Comunale di Cagliari, under musical direction by Steven Mercurio, in stage production by Lorenzo Mariani. On February 28, 1998, his performance was transmitted all over the world by Rai di Cagliari.

© Liliana Osses Adams
For additional information or correction, please contact: