Renowned opera and movie director Franco Zeffirelli has passed away at the age of 96.
Mr. Zeffirelli was well known for his opera directing, but also directed some movies. He was born Gian Franco Corsi Zeffirelli on February 12th 1923 in the outskirts of Florence, Italy.
Mr. Zeffirelli’s first big break came in 1967 when he directed Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in The taming of the Shrew – both Burton and Taylor helped to fund the production and took a small percentage of the proceeds instead of their normal salaries.
He would receive an Academy Award nomination the following year for a production of Romeo and Juliet.
Mr. Zeffirelli then turned to opera, including a production of La Traviata in 1958 with Maria Callas, and Lucia di Lammermoor with Dame Joan Sutherland in 1959. He would direct Ms. Callas’ last Norma and directed a production of Tosca with her and Tito Gobbi in 1964.
He would also become well known for his operas with the Metropolitan Opera, including productions of La Boheme, Don Giovanni, Tosca, and Turandot.
Mr. Lucia di Lammermoor was an Italian Senator from 1994-2001 and received an Honorary Knighthood by the United Kingdom.
He died at his home in Rome on June 15th, 2019.