Zeffirelli, Franco

Zeffirelli, Franco frängˈkō zāf-fērĕlˈlē [key], 1923–2019, Italian opera, stage, and film director and designer, b. Florence as Gianfranco Corsi Zeffirelli. Zeffirelli had his first successes as assistant to the director Luchino Visconti in the films Troilus and Cressida and The Three Sisters. His first opera production was La Cenerentola for Milan's La Scala, after which he became known for opulent opera productions, which some called flamboyant. He mounted productions of Falstaff (1964, revival 2002), Antony and Cleopatra (1966), and Turandot (1987), among others, for the Metropolitan Opera Company, and he opened (1966) the Met's new theater at Lincoln Center with the world premier of Samuel Barber's Antony and Cleopatra. Zeffirelli's films include The Taming of the Shrew (1966) starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Romeo and Juliet (1968), Brother Sun, Sister Moon (1973), The Champ (1979), Endless Love (1981), La Traviata (1983), Hamlet (1990), Jane Eyre (1996), Tea with Mussolini (1999), and Callas Forever (2002), her last years. Zeffirelli served two terms as an Italian senator (1994–2001) as a member of Berlusconi's party.

See his autobiography (1986); C. Napoleone, Franco Zeffirelli: Complete Works–Theatre, Opera, Film (2010).

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