Salvatore Licitra's coffin has travelled from the south of Italy to Vedano Al Lambro, near Monza, in the north, where his family live. His funeral will be held at 2 o'clock this afternoon.
Before returning home Licitra's younger brother, Fabio, talked to journalists,
My brother wasn't calm person. He was a person who took things personally. His heart trouble and high blood pressure came when he suffered injustice. My brother hated injustice.
Salvatore wasn't treated well by Italy, those who wrote badly about him know, some of your colleagues wrote badly about his performance when he was sick and sung with a bad throat. On the opening nights in certain theatres the critics didn't go to hear the opera, but only to hear if he was booed. He always said, who knows if one day, when I'm no longer around, if they'll speak well of me. I won't name names, but the critics who spoke badly of my brother know who they are.”
Maybe unjustified, but understandable in such circumstances, though there is some truth in his comments. Italy, like many European countries, in contrast to America, love to knock down those who have climbed up high. Pavarotti suffered from this as soon as the Three Tenors concert tours started, Cecilia Bartoli is constantly whipped by the Italian critics (far too successful), though the ultra-successful Andrea Bocelli gets spared… I wonder why. However, more than critics from the past, there are the words of his colleagues from today. Zubin Mehta's words were earnest and heartfelt, and Riccardo Muti added,
I am shocked by the news of Salvatore Licitra's untimely death. He was an artist with whom I had a warm friendship which grew during our many collaborations on stage and recordings.”
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.