Fausto Cleva

Fausto Cleva was born in Trieste on 17/05/1902. He studied at the Conservatorio Giuseppe Tartini, Trieste and at the Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi, Milan. He made his debut in April 1920 at the Teatro Carcano, Milan where he conducted the opera La traviata. In 1920 he migrated to the US and became an American citizen in 1931. He joined the musical staff of the Metropolitan Opera, New York (MET) as an assistant conductor, musical trainer and chorus-master. He made his official debut at the MET in 1942, conducting the opera Il barbiere di Siviglia. At the same time Cleva worked with the Cincinnati Summer Opera, becoming its musical director (1934-1963). He also served as music director of the short-lived Chicago Opera Company (1944-1946). He returned to the MET in 1950 and in the following years he conducted more than 700 performances of thirty operas, mainly from the French and Italian repertory. Outside of the US, Cleva conducted operas, including in Havana (1947, La bohème), Parma (1964, Lucia di Lammermoor and Un ballo in maschera), Monte Carlo (1968, La Wally) and the Edinburgh Festival (1959, Rigoletto). He participated as conductor in recordings of Tosca (featuring Maria Callas, Franco Corelli and Tito Gobbi), Louisa Miller (featuring Anna Moffo and Carlo Bergonzi) and La Wally (featuring Renata Tebaldi and Mario Del Monaco). He died of a heart attack in Athens on 6/8/1971 while he was conducting GNO’s production of Orfeo ed Euridice at the Odeon Herod Atticus, as part of the Athens Festival.