Karlo Giulini

Karlo Giulini

Italian conductor
Country: Italy

  1. Biography of Carlo Maria Giulini
  2. Maestro Carlo Maria Giulini passed away on June 14, 2005, in Brescia.

Biography of Carlo Maria Giulini

Carlo Maria Giulini, an Italian conductor, was born on May 9, 1914, into a prosperous family in Barletta, southern Italy. Initially a violinist, he later studied at the Santa Cecilia Academy as an violist and then as a conductor under Bernardino Molinari. Giulini performed as a violist with the Augusteo orchestra in Rome, where he had the opportunity to play with outstanding conductors such as Furtwängler, Klemperer, and Walter. He also played in a string quartet. During the war years, he served in the army and later became a member of the anti-fascist resistance.

Karlo Giulini

In 1944, Giulini made his debut in Rome at a celebratory concert dedicated to the liberation of the city by the Allies. Two years later, he became the principal conductor of the Rome Radio Orchestra. His first opera production was in 1950 in Bergamo, where he conducted Verdi's "La Traviata". In 1951, he performed Verdi's "Attila" in Venice, which was recorded and broadcasted on the radio.

In 1950, Giulini founded the orchestra of the Milan Radio. With this orchestra, he performed symphonic and operatic repertoire, including rare operas such as Cherubini's "Horia and Curiazii". In 1951, he made the first recording of Verdi's opera "I due Foscari" with this orchestra. In the same year, Arturo Toscanini heard Giulini's interpretation of Haydn's forgotten opera "Il mondo della luna" on the radio and invited the young conductor to his home to congratulate him on his success. This marked the beginning of their friendship.

In 1952, Toscanini recommended Giulini to the management of La Scala. In the same year, Giulini made his debut at La Scala with the opera "La vida breve" by De Falla. During rehearsals, he met the famous producer Walter Legge, who offered him a contract with EMI. Among his early productions at La Scala were "L'italiana in Algeri," "Adriana Lecouvreur" by Cilea, and Monteverdi's "L'incoronazione di Poppea" (all in the 1952/53 season). In 1953, Giulini became the chief conductor of La Scala, succeeding Victor de Sabata. His first significant work as the new chief conductor was the opera "I vespri siciliani" by Catalani in the opening season of 1953/54, featuring Renata Tebaldi and Mario Del Monaco. In the same season, he also staged Rossini's "Cinderella" with Franco Zeffirelli, who made his directorial debut in the opera house, and Bartok's "Bluebeard's Castle".

Among the most significant milestones at La Scala were his collaborations with Maria Callas in 1954 ("Alceste" by Gluck) and, especially, in 1955 when he joined forces with Luchino Visconti for the historic production of "La Traviata". Other notable productions at the Milan theater included "Der Freischütz" (1955), "L'elisir d'amore" (1955), and "Il barbiere di Siviglia" (1956). After that, Giulini did not conduct operas at La Scala, focusing only on numerous symphonic programs. He made his final appearance on this stage in 1997 in a concert where he conducted Schubert's Symphony No. 4.

Giulini maintained a creative friendship with Zeffirelli and Visconti. With Visconti, he worked on several productions at Covent Garden, including "Don Carlo" (1958), "Il trovatore" (1964), and another "La Traviata" (1967). In 1961, Giulini and Zeffirelli staged Verdi's "Falstaff" at Covent Garden. He had previously conducted this opera, making his British debut in 1955 at the Edinburgh Festival. It was this production that marked his return to the opera stage in Milan, London, and Los Angeles in 1982 after an almost 15-year hiatus.

Giulini also directed several productions at the Florence May Music Festival. In 1954, he staged Weber's "Euryanthe" there, followed by the first performance of Donizetti's opera "Don Sebastiano, Re di Portogallo" after many years of neglect in 1955, and Cherubini's rare opera "Les Abencérages" in 1956. He had fruitful collaborations with the festival in Aix-en-Provence and the Rome Opera. Among the festival productions were Gluck's "Iphigenia in Tauris" (1952) and Haydn's "Il mondo della luna" (1959). On the Rome stage, he conducted "Le nozze di Figaro" (1964), "Don Carlo" and "Il barbiere di Siviglia" (1965), and "Rigoletto" (1966).

In 1968, Giulini conducted a concert version of "I vespri siciliani" with Renata Tebaldi and Carlo Bergonzi at Carnegie Hall. After 1968, he primarily focused on symphonic and vocal-instrumental genres and did not work in opera, as mentioned earlier, for about fifteen years. During this period, he led the Vienna Symphony Orchestra (1973-1976), the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra (1976-1984), and collaborated with the Berlin Philharmonic and the Paris Orchestras. He also appeared as the principal guest conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In 1970, he toured extensively with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, performing in Montreal, Düsseldorf, Palermo, Lisbon, and at the Edinburgh Festival.

Giulini performed numerous works in the oratorio and vocal-instrumental genres by composers such as Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Verdi, Mahler, Britten, and others. In 1968, he conducted Schubert's Mass No. 5 in E-flat major in Edinburgh. He also frequently performed Verdi's "Requiem," including performances in London (1963), Vienna (1977), Los Angeles (1979), and Paris (1998).

Giulini concluded his conducting career in 1998. His interpretations were characterized by emotional depth, meticulous attention to detail, and inner dignity. His legacy includes outstanding studio opera recordings, such as "Don Giovanni" (1959), "Le nozze di Figaro" (1960), and "Don Carlos" (1970), made with EMI, among others.

Maestro Carlo Maria Giulini passed away on June 14, 2005, in Brescia.