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Bruno Bartoletti, longtime Lyric Opera artistic leader, dies in Florence

Updated: June 9, 2013 1:08PM

ROME — Bruno Bartoletti, longtime artistic director of Lyric Opera of Chicago, has died, a day before his 87th birthday.

His death was announced by the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the annual arts festival in Florence. Mr. Bartoletti died in a Florence hospital Sunday after a long illness.

In a career that saw Mr. Bartoletti conduct into his 80s, he served as the first music director of Chicago’s Lyric Opera, starting as guest conductor there in 1956, when he was relatively unknown. Conducting frequently in Italy, he was artistic director at Maggio Musicale from 1986-1991. He also conducted in Buenos Aires and at Milan’s La Scala.

He retired from Lyric Opera in 1999 and received the title of artistic director emeritus. He was also honored as one of Lyric’s “Jubilarians” during the company’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2004.

A funeral was scheduled for Monday in Sesto Fiorentino, a Florence suburb where the maestro was born. Bartoletti did his music studies at Florence’s conservatory.

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