Lyric Opera of Chicago

Rosanna Bartoletti 1927-2011

Press Release Letterhead
For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Rosanna Bartoletti

All at Lyric Opera of Chicago are deeply saddened by the death of Rosanna Bartoletti, wife of Lyric Opera artistic director emeritus Bruno Bartoletti and for decades a beloved figure at Lyric in her own right. Mrs. Bartoletti, who was married to Maestro Bartoletti for 58 years, died today at the age of 84 of a respiratory ailment in a hospital at Forte dei Marmi, a summer resort in Italy frequented by her family for many years.

Like her husband, Mrs. Bartoletti was a native of Sesto Fiorentino, where she was born Rosanna Sandretti on July 4, 1927. Like the late Luciano Pavarotti, she was originally an elementary-school teacher. On July 1, 1953 she married Bruno Bartoletti, whom she had known since their high-school days. Maestro Bartoletti was rapidly establishing himself as one of Italy’s most brilliant young conductors. He made his American debut at Lyric Opera in 1956, and his wife made the trip for the first time two years later. Thereafter she traveled annually to Chicago with Maestro Bartoletti, and Lyric Opera artists as well as backstage staff relished the charm she exuded to everyone.

"I first met Rosanna in 1964," recalls Lyric Opera general director William Mason. "She was Bruno’s soul mate, and everyone in the theater loved her."

Those who spoke Italian at Lyric delighted in Mrs. Bartoletti’s memorable Florentine wit. Her conversations were often peppered with phrases taken from operas, always applied at the most opportune moment. She was immensely proud of knowing from memory the words and music of countless works of the Italian operatic repertoire. Until recent years, when illness curtailed her traveling, Mrs. Bartoletti was a constant presence at her husband’s rehearsals and performances, both in Chicago and internationally. At Chicago’s Civic Opera House she could invariably be seen sitting directly in back of the conductor’s podium, in the seat that bears Bruno Bartoletti’s name.

Mrs. Bartoletti’s final trip to Chicago with her husband – tremendously emotional for both of them – was for Il trovatore in 2006. Maestro Bartoletti was conducting a new production of Verdi’s opera, commemorating the 50th anniversary of his American debut leading the same work.

In addition to her husband, Mrs. Bartoletti is survived by their daughters, Chiara and Maria, and by five grandchildren: Livia, Filippo, Arianna, Margherita, and Nicolò. Maestro Bartoletti, as well as the rest of the family, was at Mrs. Bartoletti’s side at the time of her death.