Before the final performance of I masnadieri at La Scala yesterday evening, the curtain rose on a crowded set with the chorus, soloists, technicians and other backstage theatre workers, together with the director of the chorus, Bruno Casoni, and the intendant of the theatre, Alexander Periera. They were there to pay their respects to tenor Giuseppe Bellanca, a member of the chorus who was killed on his motorcycle on Friday morning when an articulated truck disobeyed a give-way sign. He died instantly. He was 48.
On stage were his two children – his daughter had sung in La Scala’s children’s chorus – together with their mother.
After a minute’s silence, a trumpet from the orchestra pit played Nino Rota’s heart-breaking theme from Fellini’s film La Strada.
Bellanca was born in Palermo in Sicily in 1970 and was very popular in the theatre, known for his impressions of other tenors – he even did his Domingo impression in front of Placido Domingo – and for making people laugh.
He completed his studies at the Milan Conservatoire and in 2004 won an International Competition to find new members of the chorus. He often played small soloist roles at the theatre too.
Casoni said he was, “a sensitive and passionate artist, fuelled by an infinite love of music, dedication to his work and his extraordinary vitality.”
There were several minutes of applause until the curtain slowly fell.
The funeral will be held at Santa Maria del Carmine in Milan on Wednesday 10 July at 16.30.
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.