Francis Menotti

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Francis "Chip" Menotti (born Francis Phelan in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States in 1938)[1] is an actor and former figure skater who was the president and artistic director of Festival dei Due Mondi.

Early years and personal life[edit]

A son of Francis J. Phelan of Philadelphia, Phelan studied at the Goodman Theater in Chicago, and with Lee Strasberg in New York, and participated in the American Shakespeare Festival.[1]

In the mid-1960s, the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Gian Carlo Menotti began working frequently with Phelan, then a young actor and figure skater. Phelan began to appear in many of Gian Carlo Menotti's performances. He appeared as a mime in such Menotti operas as The Medium, The Saint of Bleecker Street and The Egg.[2] The two developed a relationship, and in 1974, Gian Carlo Menotti legally adopted Phelan, known as Chip, as his son.[3] Francis Phelan took the last name of Menotti.

On August 24, 1985, at Yester Parish Church, in Gifford, East Lothian, Scotland, Francis Menotti married Malinda Fitler Murphy (1960–2005), the youngest daughter of Dr. James S. Murphy and his former wife, Happy, the widow of Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller.[2] Gian Carlo Menotti's nearby home, Yester House, was given to the couple as a wedding present.[4]

The Menottis had two sons, Claudio (born 1987) and Cosimo (born 1991).[5] Malinda Menotti died on 24 October 2005.[6]

Festival dei Due Mondi[edit]

Menotti is currently best known for his past involvement with the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy, which his father, Gian Carlo Menotti, founded in 1958. He was named president of the Festival in 1994,[5] and artistic director in 1999.[7] However, the love that the organizations putting on the Festival (such as the City of Spoleto and the Festival Foundation) had for the father did not transfer to the son. Tensions arose between the Menotti family and these organizations, and private and corporate funding and attendance at the Spoleto Festival has declined significantly under the younger Menotti's leadership.[8] In his will, Gian Carlo Menotti bequeathed the Festival to his son; however, immediately after the death of Gian Carlo in February 2007, when full ownership was acquired by Francis, efforts to oust Francis from the organization became explicit and forceful.[9]