|Born||birth date April 24, 1912|
|Died||March 25, 1967(aged 54)|
Renato Cellini (Italian pronunciation: [reˈnato tʃelˈlini]; April 24, 1912 – March 25, 1967) was an Italian opera conductor. His father was Enzio Cellini, who was a stage director who worked with Arturo Toscanini.
Cellini went to the United States in 1947, when he joined the staff of the Metropolitan Opera, and where he debuted conducting Don Carlos, on April 9, 1952, with Jussi Björling, Eleanor Steber and Regina Resnik in the cast. The following year, he led Aïda (with Herva Nelli and Jean Madeira) and La forza del destino (with Zinka Milanov and Mario del Monaco). In 1954, he conducted La forza again (now with Nelli and Leonard Warren), and a double-bill of Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci.
New Orleans Opera
In 1954, Cellini was appointed General Director and Conductor of the New Orleans Opera Association, where he debuted with La bohème (staged by Armando Agnini). While there, he founded The Experimental Opera Theatre of America (1954–60) in association with the New Orleans Opera. It was "designed to give young singers an opportunity to be heard in opera." These young singers included Harry Theyard, Mignon Dunn, Norman Treigle, John Reardon, Audrey Schuh, André Turp, Chester Ludgin, John Macurdy, Stanley Kolk, Ara Berberian, Enrico di Giuseppe, Ticho Parly and Benjamin Rayson.
While in New Orleans Cellini conducted performances of many operas, including Otello (with Ramón Vinay and Nelli), Tosca (with Inge Borkh and Robert Weede), Lakmé, Amelia al ballo (with Schuh), Elektra, L'amore dei tre re, Falstaff (with Warren), Werther, La cenerentola, Boris Godunov (with Boris Christoff), Il trovatore, Turandot, Norma, Don Giovanni (with Treigle), Tannhäuser, La Gioconda, Manon (with Phyllis Curtin and Nicolai Gedda), Un ballo in maschera, Orfeo ed Euridice, Der Rosenkavalier, Rigoletto (with Cornell MacNeil) and La forza del destino (with Eileen Farrell and Richard Cassilly).
During the decade Cellini led the New Orleans Opera, many national and international stars made their local debuts with the company. These included Luigi Alva (as Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia), Giuseppe Campora (as Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor), Lisa della Casa (as the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier), Plácido Domingo (as Lord Arturo Bucklaw in Lucia), Gedda (as des Grieux), Louis Quilico (as Lescaut), Cesare Siepi (as Don Giovanni) and Beverly Sills (as the heroines of Les contes d'Hoffmann).
In 1964, in failing health, Cellini conducted for the last time (Aïda). He died on March 25, 1967 (Holy Saturday) in New Orleans at the age of 54, and is buried in Metairie Cemetery. In 2004 his widow, Pinuccia, moved from New Orleans to Tennessee.
Studio discography (complete operas)
- Verdi: Rigoletto (Berger, Merriman, Peerce, Warren, Tajo; 1950) RCA Victor
- Verdi: Il trovatore (Milanov, Barbieri, Björling, Warren, Moscona; 1952) RCA Victor
- Mascagni: Cavalleria rusticana (Milanov, Björling, Merrill; 1953) RCA Victor
- Leoncavallo: Pagliacci (de los Ángeles, Björling, Franke, Warren, Merrill; 1953) RCA Victor
Approved "live" discography
- Verdi: Falstaff (della Chiesa, Schuh, Turp, Warren, Torigi; 1956) VAI
- Verdi: La traviata: excerpts (Kirsten, Hayward, MacNeil; 1958) VAI
- Puccini: La bohème (Albanese, Schuh, di Stefano, Valdengo, Treigle; 1959) VAI
- Puccini: Madama Butterfly (Kirsten, Barioni, Torigi; 1960) VAI
- Saint-Saëns: Samson et Dalila (Stevens, Vinay, Berberian; 1960) VAI
- Ponchielli: La Gioconda (Milanov, Kramarich, Gismondo, Bardelli, Wilderman; 1960) VAI
- Verdi: La forza del destino: excerpts (Farrell, Cassilly; 1963) VAI
- Mascagni: Cavalleria rusticana (Milanov, Gismondo, Rayson; 1963) VAI
- "Obituary," Opera, May 1967.
- Renato Cellini conducting an excerpt from La bohème (with Licia Albanese, Patrice Munsel, Giuseppe di Stefano and Leonard Warren, 1951, audio only).