An extraordinary life
“Maestro”: this is what Mario Lanfranchi (1927 – 2022) was usually called, an appellation that, born in the theater, had extended into the infinite fields of his vast knowledge.
So many lives in one: director of opera, cinema and theater; author of programs and carousels on early television (Rai); among the greatest Italian collectors, a Renaissance man capable of recognizing beauty instantly, for objects delivered by History as of the contemporary.
Truly impossible to summarize: ample space is dedicated to Mario Lanfranchi su Wikipedia, for an infinity of experiences, from opera performances on TV to horse racing, from international stagings to the years lived in London and more. Many awards, including the prestigious Illica, Lanfranchi’s own first-ever award.
In the volume dedicated to him by Roberta Reganati Ebnet “Mario Lanfranchi, a director for all seasons,” ed. Santa Croce, intense the face on the cover with the unfailing hat (one of many! ), Gian Piero Brunetta, professor emeritus of film history and criticism, titles his preface/proemium “L’Ulisside di Santa Maria del Piano” highlighting the many similarities with the Homeric hero, descendant and “Po Valley avatar,” finding concordances “of vicissitudes and exploits, of arms and loves.”
Yes: a “multifaceted wit!” Always original, full of thought and ingenious solutions, the opera productions, numerous with his wife, Anna Moffo, as protagonist, “Butterfly” and “Traviata,” “Lucia di Lammermoor” and “La sonnambula.”
About twenty film-operas, more than a dozen film directions in the most diverse genres, remembered in particular “Venezia, carnevale, un amore” with Rudolf Nureyev, Carla Fracci, Peter Ustinov and Charles Aznavour.
Thank you, Mario
So many passions, rugby and cycling, horses and greyhounds, billiards and shooting, always striving for excellence. But the void left in those who had known Mario Lanfranchi goes beyond his many cultural adventures, the summer parties in the villa’s garden, the hospitality of singers and actors in the little court theater, his theatrical afternoons (yes: he was also a great actor): wonderful was being able to converse with him, to listen to his anecdotes, hilarious, witty, always ready for sparkling jokes. Truly irreplaceable.
There remains his villa, his home, wonderful mirror of so much joy of life, now open to the public, invited thus to experience the pleasure of exploring it, of following the many traces of an extraordinary existence.