Fiora Corradetti Contino

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lennygoran
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Fiora Corradetti Contino

Post by lennygoran » Wed Mar 15, 2017 6:47 pm

Gotta admit I never heard of her. Regards, Len

Fiora Corradetti Contino, Opera Maestra, Dies at 91

By SAM ROBERTS MARCH 15, 2017

Fiora Corradetti Contino in about 1979.

Fiora Corradetti Contino, who founded her first opera company when she was only 27 and became an accomplished maestra who conducted for 50 years, until she was 81, died on March 5 in Carmel, Ind. She was 91.

The cause was arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease, her daughter Lisa Contino said.

Dr. Contino, who made her New York conducting debut when she was 73, hailed from a distinguished musical family.

Her father, Ferrucio Corradetti, was a leading baritone at La Scala in Milan before he fled Mussolini’s Fascist regime. A half sister, Iris Adami Corradetti, was a soprano and one of the featured Madama Butterflys of the late 1930s.

Dr. Contino, who specialized in the visceral, unsentimental realism of Italian verismo opera, was also a music professor and vocal coach, but was best known as an acclaimed conductor.
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Her execution of Mascagni’s “Iris” by Teatro Grattacielo at Alice Tully Hall in 1998, her New York debut, was “a luscious and exultant orchestral performance,” Paul Griffiths wrote in The New York Times.

When she conducted the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly,” The Philadelphia Evening Bulletin wrote that “she held everything together with a baton that was sharp and in clear control of a magnificently coordinated performance.”

“Her presence would do honor to any opera house in the world,” The Evening Bulletin said.

Byron Belt described her in The Long Island Press as “certainly one of the outstanding women conductors of our day.” He mentioned her gender, he wrote, “because a man of her superlative gifts would surely be an international superstar today.”

Indeed, Dr. Contino recalled that when she was in her 30s rehearsing Verdi’s “La Traviata” with the Pittsburgh Symphony, the orchestra balked at having to practice an opera that they had performed repeatedly, and, she said, it was less than thrilled being held captive to “some unknown woman.”

“I found that a woman rather sounds like a kindergarten teacher when saying, ‘I don’t like this,’” she was quoted as saying in “Wisdom, Wit, and Will: Women Choral Conductors on Their Art” (2009). “I think that has to do with gender, because a man sounds different when he complains about something.”

She added, “It came to a point where the second clarinetist, who I have since learned was a little bit goofy, turned his chair completely around, making sure that he didn’t see me.”

Fiora d’Itala Rosa Corradetti was born on June 17, 1925, on Long Island, in Lynbrook, the daughter of Italian immigrants who met in New York at one of her father’s concerts. Her father, who died when she was 14, was also a vocal coach and music critic. Her mother, the former Anna Lisarelli, was a seamstress.

Fiora’s musical heritage germinated early. She was a prodigy as a young pianist and church organist.

She graduated from Long Beach High School on Long Island and, armed with a letter of recommendation from the conductor Arturo Toscanini, a friend of her father’s, she enrolled in Oberlin College in Ohio, where she earned a degree in piano performance.

She married a fellow graduate, Joseph Contino; their marriage ended in divorce. In addition to her daughter Lisa, she is survived by two other daughters, Adriana Contino and Francesca Levitt; a son, Frederic; nine grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her longtime companion, Dr. Jeraldine C. Baumgartner, who died in 2012, as well as her sister, Adriana Corradetti.

Dr. Contino left her family in 1958 to study conducting at the Conservatoire Americain in Fontainebleau, France; the École Normale, in Paris, under Nadia Boulanger; and the Akademie Vienne, with Hans Swarowsky.

She received a doctorate from the Indiana University School of Music (now the Jacobs School of Music) in Bloomington, where she became a professor and served as principal conductor and chairwoman of the choral department.

While teaching at Smith College in Massachusetts, Dr. Contino founded the Amherst Community Opera Company. She also taught at Bowling Green State University in Ohio; Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts; Hillsdale College in Michigan; the Peabody Institute, part of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore; and the University of Texas at Austin.

Her opera conducting career included performances at the Aspen Music Festival, Anchorage Opera, Chicago Opera Theater and the San Francisco Opera. She also conducted regularly at the Temple University Music Festival in Ambler, Pa., and was director of the Choral Institute at the Aspen Music Festival.

For two decades, she was the artistic director of Opera Illinois in Peoria. She retired in 2005.

Dr. Contino lived in Indiana but also maintained a studio in New York, where she taught.

“Singers today sing music, then the words,” she complained, “when it should be exactly the other way around.”

She defined opera as “an art form which is a magnificent attempt at combining many, many disciplines.” Conducting, she said, is “like being an enabler for other people to create the music.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/15/arts ... ction&_r=0

maestrob
Posts: 4515
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Fiora Corradetti Contino

Post by maestrob » Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:47 pm

Not known to me either. What a magnificent life!

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