Obituary: Conductor Nello Santi Dies at 88

By Francisco Salazar

Legendary conductor Nello Santi has died at the age of 88.

Robert Lombardo, the conductor’s manager confirmed the news. Lombardo stated that the conductor was being treated for a blood infection.

Born on Sept. 22, 1931 in Adria, Italy, Santi studied composition at the Liceo musicale of Padua and went on to make his in 1951 debut as a conductor In Verdi and Piave’s “Rigoletto” at the Teatro Verdi.

Santi then went on to be appointed music director of the Zurich Opera House from 1958 to 1969 and made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 1962 where he went on to conduct a total of 400 performances in works by Verdi and Puccini. He also conducted at the Royal Opera House, Arena di Verona and Teatro alla Scala, among other major theaters.

Beloved by artists, he was often called “Papa Santi” and was known for a traditionalist approach to the score that called for singers to avoid exaggerated coloratura and showstopping high notes.

He went on to work with the likes of Plácido Domingo, Montserrat Caballé, Sherrill Milnes, Anna Netrebko, Gabriela Beňačková, Piero Cappuccilli, Leo Nucci, Isabel Rey, Juan Diego Florez and Anna Moffo, among others.

Santi recorded such operas as “Pagliacci” “L’amore dei tre re,” “Andrea Chénier,” “La Fanciulla del West,” “Guglielmo Tell,” “I due Foscari,” and “Don Pasquale.”

Santi is survived by his wife and twin sons, Gian Aldo and Gian Carlo.