Italian conductor Nello Santi (*1931) died today at the age of 88. Without being one of the most outstanding conductors he was a reliable musician and, in his best days, could really inspire orchestras, choirs and singers to surpassing themselves. That happened when he conducted Boito’s Mefistofele in the early seventies in Paris, leaving indelible memories for me. A profound connoisseur of the Italian repertoire, he was a traditional conductor who liked to put singers at ease and to get a fluid and perfect orchestral playing.

Santi was born in Adria (Veneto) and studied composition at the Liceo musicale of Padua. In 1951, he made his debut as a conductor in Padua conducting Verdi’s Rigoletto at the Teatro Verdi. Active for half a century, especially outside of Italy, he was Music Director of the Zurich Opera House from 1958 to 1969. He has conducted also at the Metropolitan Opera, at the Royal Opera House, at Vienna’s State Opera and many more. He slowed down his activities some years ago, but did really stop conducting.

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