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Arturo Basile

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Biography

Arturo Basile was an important mid-twentieth century conductor largely known for his work in Italian opera, particularly in the works of Puccini and Verdi. While he did not reach the ranks of the leading conductors of his time, he appeared headed toward greater acclaim when he was killed in an automobile accident in 1968, at the age of 54. Basile was born on January 16, 1914, in Siracusa, Sicily. When he was nine, his family moved to Turin. At the age of 12 he was enrolled in the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Turin, where he studied oboe. His teachers there included Federico Ghedini; Puccini protégée Franco Alfano was the conservatory director. He received a diploma in oboe playing in 1933, but soon decided on a career in conducting. Basile served in the military later in the decade and by the early '40s was conducting concerts and recording with Turin's Orchestra Sinfonica dell' EIAR. In 1942 he married Elisabetta Sangermano; a son, Ricardo, was born in 1944. Basile's career activities were largely limited to Turin until after the war, when he took first prize in a conducting competition in Rome (1946), with Tullio Serafin heading the jury. Thereafter his career quickly advanced: by 1949 he was collaborating with Maria Callas in Bellini, and in the next decade took his career beyond Italian borders, making appearances in Hilversum, Lugano, Ankara, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tokyo, and other major foreign cities. In the 1950s and 1960s Basile made a number of notable recordings. Several featured Renata Tebaldi, including the 1953 Andrea Chenier and a February 7, 1961, live concert with the RAI Rome Orchestra, originally released on Cetra. His last recording appears to have been the 1968 Deutsche Grammophon release of The Barber of Seville. After his death in 1968 his name faded for a time, but numerous recordings of his began reappearing in the late '90s and early 2000s and have helped revive his reputation.

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