Giuseppe Sinopoli

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About Giuseppe Sinopoli

Of the postwar musicians who have been called Renaissance figures, few merit the description more aptly than Giuseppe Sinopoli, who held a degree in medicine, wrote a thesis on criminal anthropology, and was an authority on Greek ceramics. Born in Venice in 1946, he studied at the Benedetto Marcello Conservatory, and the Darmstadt Summer Course with Stockhausen. He wrote prolifically throughout the 1970s, culminating in the opera Lou Salomé, staged at Munich in 1981. By then he had turned more to conducting, signing with Deutsche Grammophon and recording with contemporaries such as Bruno Maderna, Sylvano Bussotti, and Giacomo Manzoni. Sinopoli soon tackled mainstream repertoire, not least a cycle of Mahler symphonies with London’s Philharmonia Orchestra—of which he was the principal conductor from 1984 to 1994—and operas by Puccini, Strauss, Verdi, and Wagner. His fastidious ear and analytic rigor meant interpretations were considered and often insightful, as in his recordings of Puccini's Manon Lescaut and Madama Butterfly, where his clarity of texture is at one with sensuousness of expression. In 1992 he became the principal conductor of Staatskapelle Dresden, besides working at Bayreuth Festspiele and Deutsche Oper Berlin. While conducting Verdi’s Aida in Berlin on April 20, 2001, Sinopoli suffered a heart attack from which he died the next day. Not long before, he had performed Dvořák’s Stabat Mater in Dresden, later released as his final recording.

Venice, Italy
November 2, 1946
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