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February 2021 Obituaries

Our summary of those the
classical music world has lost this month


Here are brief details of some of the people lost to the classical music world during February 2021. May they rest in peace.

Italian musicologist and writer Paolo Isotta passed away on 12 February in Naples, aged seventy. He was born in the same city on 18 October 1950. His studies at the University of Naples included law, piano and composition. He taught music history in Reggio Calabria, Turin and Naples. In 1974 he became music critic for the newly-formed Il Giornale and from 1980 until 2015 he wrote for Corriere della Sera. His books include the 2018 La dotta lira: Ovidio e la musica, which is thought to be the first writing about the influence of Ovid's poetry on music between the fifteenth and twenty-first centuries.

The death of American dramatic soprano Margherita Roberti was reported on 10 February, aged ninety-five. Born Margaret Jean Roberts in 1925 in Wayne County, Iowa, she began voice lessons aged thirteen with Herald Stark at the University of Iowa, and went on to study singing at Hunter College in New York. She had an international career spanning four decades, was successful in singing Verdi heroines and was particularly popular in Italy, where she was honoured by the Italian Government.

Italian opera director Stefano Mazzonis di Pralafera died on 7 February, aged seventy-two, from cancer, in Liège, Belgium. Born in Rome in 1949, he had an earlier career as a lawyer, but became director of Bologna's Teatro Communale in 2004. He then moved to the Opéra Royal de Wallonie in Liège, Belgium, where he directed several Italian works, including operas by Donietti, Puccini, Rossini and Verdi. He was still director in Liège at the time of his death.

Czech soprano Libuše Domanínská passed away at Hodonín in South Moravia on 2 February, aged ninety-six. She was born in Brno on 4 July 1924. She had a repertoire of fifty roles at the national theatres in Brno and Prague, and was active between the 1940s and 1970s. She specialised in Czech repertoire and appeared in all of Janáček's operas, but also sang Mozart, Italian and Russian repertoire. With Prague National Theatre she toured to Moscow, Amsterdam and Edinburgh, where she sang Jitka in the first British performance of Smetana's Dalibor.

Maltese pianist Cynthia Turner died on 1 February, aged eighty-eight, at the Mater Dei Hospital in Msida. She had suffered a hip and wrist fracture, and subsequently caught COVID-19. Born in Valletta in 1932, she became Malta's best-known pianist, performing in Egypt, France, Germany, Italy and Malta. She played for royalty, became Chavalier in the French Ordre des Palmes Académiques, a member of Malta's National Order of Merit and an associate of London's Royal Academy of Music.

American conductor and pianist Kevin McCutcheon passed away from COVID-19 during the night of 1-2 February, aged sixty-six. Originally from Pennsylvania, he worked in Germany, at Deutsche Oper Berlin, where he had lived since the age of thirty.

Posted 12 February 2021 by Keith Bramich




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