• Follow us

Entertainment

Franco Zeffirelli, Italian film and opera director, dies at 96

ROME (Reuters) - Franco Zeffirelli, who directed the world’s greatest opera singers and brought Shakespeare to the cinema-going masses, has died. He was 96.

In a statement, his foundation said he died in Rome on Saturday. “Ciao Maestro,” said the announcement.

Often appreciated more by the public than critics, Zeffirelli was the last of a generation of Italian film giants who came of age after World War Two, including Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti and Vittorio De Sica.

He directed more than two dozen films, working with stars including Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Laurence Olivier, Alec Guinness, Faye Dunaway, and Jon Voight.

“Franco Zeffirelli, one of the world’s greatest men of culture, passed away this morning,” Dario Nardella, the mayor of Zeffirelli’s home city of Florence, said in a Twitter post. “Goodbye dear Maestro, Florence will never forget you.”

Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said Zeffirelli would “remain in the hearts and the history of this country.”

Zeffirelli’s opera productions for the stage included singers such as Maria Callas, Placido Domingo, Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarotti, Renata Scotto and Jose Carreras.

In a 2013 interview to mark his 90th birthday, he said the general public would remember him most for his 1968 film of “Romeo and Juliet,” the 1977 television mini-series “Jesus of Nazareth,” and “Brother Sun, Sister Moon,” his 1972 film tribute to St. Francis of Assisi.

“Romeo and Juliet”, one of several times Zeffirelli brought Shakespeare to the screen, was nominated for Best Picture and Best Director Oscars. His 1990 “Hamlet” starred Mel Gibson.

One of the high points of his opera career was a triumphant production of Verdi’s Aida at Milan’s La Scala in 2006, which won more than 15 minutes of applause on opening night.

However, Zeffirelli’s unconventional ventures into opera were often welcomed more abroad than at home, particularly in the United States, where he had more than a dozen top productions at the New York Metropolitan Opera.

In 1994 Zeffirelli, who directed several productions at London’s Covent Garden, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his “valuable services to British performing arts”.

A homosexual and devout Catholic, he revealed in his 2006 autobiography that he had been seduced by a priest when he was a teenager. But he said it was not molestation because there was no violence.

FILE PHOTO: Italian director Franco Zeffirelli arrives to attend Luciano Pavarotti's funeral at the cathedral of Modena September 8, 2007. REUTERS/Daniele La Monaca/File Photo

Zeffirelli hated the term “gay”, saying it was “undignified”.

“How can you say that Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci were ‘gay’?” he asked Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper. “Being homosexual carries with it a great weight of responsibility and difficult social, human and cultural choices”.

MOZART-LOVING MOTHER

Zeffirelli was born in Florence on February 12, 1923, to Alaide Garosi Cipriani, a seamstress, and Ottorino Corsi, a cloth salesman. Because they were married to other people, the law at the time meant he could not take either of their surnames and had to be registered by another one.

His mother, who loved Mozart, chose “Zeffiretti” after the Italian word for “little zephyrs” (breezes) in an aria in the Austrian composer’s Italian-language opera “Idomeneo”. But a transcription error by a city hall clerk made it forever “Zeffirelli”.

“Relatives and friends were horrified and very worried for the future which lay ahead of her,” he told a Catholic magazine in 2003. “Some advised her to have an abortion, but she refused. She believed that the child which was about to be born was a monument to her great love.”

His mother died of tuberculosis when he was six and he was raised by an aunt and at times by a group of eccentric ex-pat English women in Florence known as “Gli Scorpioni” (The Scorpions) for their biting wit.

Under their influence and tutelage, he learned to love English and Shakespeare, an experience that formed the basis of his 1999 film “Tea With Mussolini,” starring Joan Plowright, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Cher.

“They taught me all the important things in life,” he told an interviewer in 1999. “These ladies helped me to understand my own city, my own culture and my own upbringing.”

In World War Two, Zeffirelli fought as a partisan before becoming an interpreter for the Scots Guards.

After the war, he studied architecture at the University of Florence and was drawn into theater and film, working initially as an assistant to Visconti, the director, for whom he designed the set for the first Italian production of Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire” in 1949.

Away from the screen and the stage, Zeffirelli was often in the news for his outspoken views.

In 1993, he was criticized by the Vatican for saying there should be capital punishment for women who have abortions.

FILE PHOTO: Italy's film director Franco Zeffirelli smiles during a ceremony at the British Embassy in Rome November 24, 2004. REUTERS/Tony Gentile/File Photo

From 1994 to 2001 he served as a senator for former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s conservative Forza Italia party, hoping to inject culture into politics. He later said he regretted the decision.

Speaking in 2017 about his Christian faith, he told the Catholic newspaper Avvenire: “Faith is a gift, I am certain of that. I have it and I must hold on to it tightly. I know the past will never return but I am not saddened because I’ve had a full life, even though it began uphill.”

Reporting by Philip Pullella and Gavin Jones.; Editing by Robin Pomeroy and Mike Harrison

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.Read More



Leave A Comment

More News

Just Jared

Riverdale's Vanessa Morgan is Engaged to Michael Kopech! 2019-07-03 19:47:53Congratulations are in order for Vanessa Morgan and Michael Kopech! The 27-year-old Riverdale actress and the 23-year-old baseball pitcher for the Chi

Did Nike Purposely Manufacture the Colin Kaepernick Betsy 2019-07-03 19:33:58This Shark Tank star believes Nike knew exactly what they were doing when they pulled the controversial Betsy Ross flag shoe, which Colin Kaepernick c

Celebs Applaud Halle Bailey's Casting as Ariel in 2019-07-03 19:17:04Celebs are reacting to Halle Bailey (not Halle BERRY) snagging the role of Ariel in Disney’s upcoming live-action The Little Mermaid. The 19-yea

Jenelle Evans Is Getting Custody of Her Children 2019-07-03 19:14:48Jenelle Evans will regain custody of her children. The 27-year-old Teen Mom star, who lost custody of her children back in May because of an incident

Liam Payne Drops His Capsule Collection With 'Hugo' 2019-07-03 19:01:46Liam Payne has teamed up with Hugo for his debut fashion campaign! The collection was unveiled at an event during Berlin Fashion Week tonight (July 3)

Rick & Kathy Hilton Sued for Allegedly Owing 2019-07-03 18:50:05Rick and Kathy Hilton, Paris and Nicky Hilton‘s parents, are being sued for allegedly owing their housekeeper thousands of dollars in unpaid wag

Zendaya Says Her Face 'Freezes' Before On-Camera Interviews 2019-07-03 18:34:07Zendaya has the perfect backdrop for these gorgeous photos during her trip to Paris, France on Tuesday night (July 2). The 22-year-old Spider-Man: Far

Sky Ferreira Sides With Taylor Swift in Scooter 2019-07-03 18:14:33Sky Ferreira is on Taylor Swift‘s side after she expressed how upset she is that Scooter Braun now owns her master recordings. The 26-year-old s

Halle Bailey, Not Halle Berry, Is Playing Ariel 2019-07-03 18:10:24Guys, it’s Halle BAILEY, not Halle BERRY, who is playing Ariel in Disney’s upcoming live-action The Little Mermaid. Fans have been confusi

Justin Bieber Joins Wife Hailey For Lunch Date 2019-07-03 18:03:19Justin and wife Hailey Bieber arrive with big smiles on their faces for a lunch date on Wednesday afternoon (July 3) in Beverly Hills, Calif. The twos

Dean McDermott Opens Up About His Gay Son 2019-07-03 18:01:08Dean McDermott is sharing his love for his oldest son, Jack, right in the wake of Pride Month. The 52-year-old actor spoke about his 20-year-old son d

Emma Roberts & Garrett Hedlund Catch a Flight 2019-07-03 17:29:02Emma Roberts and Garrett Hedlund couple up for a flight at LAX Airport! The 28-year-old American Horror Story actress and the 34-year-old Triple Front

Arts & Entertainment -

Why didn’t Disney just explain why it cut 2019-07-03 19:25:00Disney is not a company known for explaining itself, but why on earth it would do a good thing in a way that makes it look shady really is beyond me.

Halle Bailey will play Ariel in the live-action 2019-07-03 18:15:00Halle Bailey is your new Ariel. On Wednesday, Disney announced that the singer and actress has been cast as the lead of its live-action adaptation of

Taylor Swift, entitled millionaire, is the labor activist 2019-07-03 16:55:00Taylor Swift, one of pop music’s most polarizing superstars, is enmeshed in another very public battle, and the world has promptly, predictably,

Review: ‘Stranger Things 3’ finds new horrors at 2019-07-03 16:30:00Demogorgons. Mad scientists. A parallel universe. It’s seemed that Hawkins, Ind., had seen it all over the past two seasons of “Stranger T

Reviews: Sylvester Stallone and Dave Bautista in ‘Escape 2019-07-03 16:20:00'Escape Plan: The Extractors' In 2013, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger co-starred in “Escape Plan,” a two-fisted prison pic

Review: Before RuPaul, the documentary ‘Paris Is Burning’ 2019-07-03 15:40:00Over the past decade, Jennie Livingston’s landmark 1990 documentary “Paris Is Burning” has had a renaissance of sorts, thanks in no

In action-comedy ‘Stuber,’ Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista 2019-07-03 14:55:00Theirs was a gentle friendship forged in the cozy confines of an eco-friendly Nissan Leaf, the electric car that serves as a roving setting for broman

‘Toy Story 2’ casting-couch outtake is not so 2019-07-03 14:30:00The far-reaching #MeToo and Time’s Up movements have hit the Walt Disney Co. yet again, resulting in the reported deletion of a 20-year-old cast

Best live music in L.A.: Nile Rodgers, Chrissie 2019-07-03 14:10:00Celebrate the long weekend in style with a full slate of July 4th festivities and gigs from hometown icons. July 4th Fireworks Spectacular with Nile R

Review: Getty Villa’s ‘Buried by Vesuvius’ is exquisite 2019-07-03 13:55:00When Mt. Vesuvius blew its top in AD 79, the now-fabled volcanic eruption began a winding sequence of events that, exactly 1,900 years later, heralded

ASAP Rocky is behind bars in Sweden after 2019-07-03 13:50:00ASAP Rocky was arrested early Wednesday in Stockholm, Sweden, on suspicion of gross assault after a Sunday altercation that was captured in part on vi

Dance studios are the latest pushed out by 2019-07-03 12:30:00For a room full of teenage tap dancers, the studio at Dance Arts Academy was surprisingly quiet. About 40 dancers were sitting on the wooden floor, ea

Reuters: Entertainment News

Japan sending patent officials to U.S. over Kim 2019-07-02 02:39:26Japan is to send patent officials to the United States to discuss the flap over Kim Kardashian’s Kimono brand underwear, the trade minister said

Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber at odds in 2019-07-01 21:28:25Pop superstar Taylor Swift has attacked Justin Bieber's manager for buying her music catalog, prompting Bieber to come to his defense in a heated onl

Lady Gaga, Letitia Wright among hundreds invited to 2019-07-01 16:55:15The group that hands out the Oscars said on Monday it had invited 842 new members from 59 countries including Lady Gaga, Sterling K. Brown and Letitia

Back to black for Christian Dior at sumptuous 2019-07-01 16:37:09With a series of all-black bustier gowns that would not have looked out of place on Grace Kelly, a vintage mood reigned on the catwalk at Christian Di

Giambattista Valli skips the runway for floral fashion 2019-07-01 15:21:27Known for his ultra-feminine, silhouette-driven gowns, couturier Giambattista Valli shook up Haute Couture fashion week in Paris on Monday with a bota

British singer Cliff Richard demands change to sex 2019-07-01 08:48:25British singer Cliff Richard joined forces with other high profile figures in the media on Monday to demand that those people accused of sexual offens

Indian actress draws fire for quitting over Islamic 2019-07-01 08:40:41A Muslim actress' decision to quit Bollywood, saying acting was taking her away from her faith, has triggered a backlash in India from fellow actors

Kylie Minogue sparkles on Glastonbury stage 14 years 2019-06-30 15:14:34Kylie Minogue delighted a huge crowd at Glastonbury with hits including "Spinning Around", "Shocked" and "Better the Devil You Know", 14 years a

David Attenborough thanks Glastonbury for plastic bottle ban 2019-06-30 13:41:14The world renowned naturalist David Attenborough appeared on the stage at Glastonbury on Sunday to praise its ban on single-use plastic bottles, delig

Box Office: 'Toy Story 4' bests 'Annabelle Comes 2019-06-30 13:02:40LOS ANGELES, (Variety.com) - Woody, Buzz Lightyear and Forky are still ruling the box office. Despite solid debuts from newcomers "Annabelle Comes Ho

Glastonbury's plastic bottle ban tested by hot weather 2019-06-30 10:14:24Britain's Glastonbury Festival is greener and cleaner after banning the sale of single-use plastic bottles in the hope of inspiring long-term change

Stormzy's stab-vest for landmark Glastonbury gig designed by 2019-06-30 08:33:20A Union Jack emblazoned stab-proof vest worn by British rapper Stormzy for his history-making headline performance at the Glastonbury Music Festival w

TORONTO STAR | ENTERTAINMENT

Vinay Menon: Scooter Braun feud is part of 2019-07-03 13:28:23Even as her incredible talent drives her higher into the stratosphere, Taylor Swift insists others are holding her down, writes Vinay Menon.

Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road becomes longest-running 2019-07-03 12:07:22“Old Town Road” stayed at No.1 for its 13th consecutive week, beating out “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth, &ld

Vancouver symphony’s park shows had delights and a 2019-07-03 12:00:00Becoming the backup band for a drag show is a surprising moment in the life of a classical musician, but summer is the time for such surprises, Willia

Roxodus music festival cancelled due to ill-prepared event 2019-07-03 09:28:21Organizers say the venue at Edenvale Airport “battled tremendous rainy weather” over the past several months, soaking the grounds and maki

BoJack Horseman creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg shines darkly in 2019-07-03 08:27:20The book proves Bob-Waksberg can conjure many modern miseries beyond those of a talking horse.

Controversial anti-abortion film Unplanned to hit more than 2019-07-03 08:15:19Top film critics on movie review aggregation websites Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes have panned it, with many calling it propaganda. But audience sco

Jason Priestley leaves it on the dance floor 2019-07-03 06:00:00

Waterloo-raised comic Courtney Gilmour, born without hands and 2019-07-03 00:00:00Gilmour was the first female comic to win the Just for Laughs homegrown competition in Montreal in 2017.

Stranger Things is back. Here’s where Season 2 2019-07-02 21:40:14The Netflix series is steeped in nostalgia for the Spielbergian comforts of a suburban past but is really about the perpetual trauma of characters who

This year’s Toronto Fringe Festival has a Filipino 2019-07-02 17:59:11Annual fest includes the Filipinx shows Through the Bamboo, Tita Jokes and Monica vs. the internet, while Kanto by Tita Flips will serve food at the f

Wynonna Earp finally gets green light for fourth 2019-07-02 16:37:10

Does Mischa Barton-Perez Hilton fight The Hills reboot 2019-07-02 16:13:10The enmity between actress Mischa Barton and celebrity blogger Perez Hilton captured in The Hills reboot hearkened to the often relentlessly cruel cel


Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.