He was born in 1931 in Adria in the Veneto region. He was the director of Zurich Opera from 1958 to 1969. In 1960, Santi conducted the Wiener Philharmoniker for Don Carlo in Salzburg with Boris Christoff and Ettore Bastianini. At The Royal Opera House in London he conducted Joan Sutherland in La traviata.
He made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera, where he returned regularly, in 1962 conducting Un ballo in maschera with Leonie Rysanek, Carlo Bergonzi and Robert Merrill. He conducted 401 performances at the Met including an Aida with Leontyne Price, Bergonzi and Bonaldo Giaiotti, La traviata with Anna Moffo, as well as Otello, Cavalleria rusticana, Pagliacci, Macbeth, Rigoletto, Tosca, La forza del destino and so on, until 2000.
Santi first collaborated with La Scala in 1971 with Madama Butterfly, starring Gabriella Tucci and Giacomo Aragall, and then in Liliana Cavani’s La traviata in 2017 with Anna Netrebko, Francesco Meli and Leo Nucci, who would also be the protagonist of the Nabucco later that year.
Santi’s name is linked with that of Toscanini and the era of the great voices: Alfredo Kraus, Renata Scotto, Franco Corelli, Birgit Nilsson, Plácido Domingo, Montserrat Caballé and many others.
September 22, 1931 – February 6, 2020