Franco Zeffirelli

Bad Gays

01-02-2022 • 1 hr 21 mins

A very special opera queen episode profiling an opera queen gone wrong: the Italian opera and film director (of 1968's famous Romeo and Juliet) who fought fascists as a partisan in the hills over Florence, mingled with Visconti and Cocteau and Marais and Chanel, and directed Callas in many of her mid-career triumphs before beginning to harden his style from lush realism to a celebration of set decoration above all. Zeffirelli, born at a time when the last composers whose works still fill the grand opera repertory were dying, faced, like all practitioners of the operatic arts in the 20th century, a choice between making living theatre or dead, ten-ton museum pieces. He chose the museum-piece approach and in so doing did tremendous artistic damage.

CONTENT WARNING: THIS EPISODE DISCUSSES CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE AND RACIST LANGUAGE.

----more----

See Callas in Tosca in 1964 here.

See Leontyne Price's costumes for Antony and Cleopatra here and here.

See Zeffirelli's MET Opera Turandot set here.

See Waltraud Meier sing the Liebestod here.

SOURCES:

Duane Byrge, “Franco Zeffirelli, Oscar-Nominated Director for ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ Dies at 96,” The Hollywood Reporter (blog), June 15, 2019, https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/general-news/franco-zeffirelli-dead-romeo-juliet-920639/

Rachel Donadio, “Maestro Still Runs the Show, Grandly,” The New York Times, August 18, 2009, sec. Arts, https://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/19/arts/music/19zeffirelli.html

Roger Ebert, “Romeo and Juliet Movie Review (1968) | Roger Ebert,” accessed January 31, 2022, https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/romeo-and-juliet-1968

Johanna Fiedler, Molto Agitato: The Mayhem behind the Music at the Metropolitan Opera (New York: Anchor Books, 2003)

Jonathan Kandell, “Franco Zeffirelli, Italian Director With Taste for Excess, Dies at 96,” The New York Times, June 15, 2019, sec. Arts, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/15/arts/music/franco-zeffirelli-dead.html

Rebecca Keegan, “The Dark Side of Franco Zeffirelli: Abuse Accusers Speak Out Upon the Famed Director’s Death,” The Hollywood Reporter (blog), June 18, 2019, https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/movies/movie-news/franco-zeffirelli-abuse-accusers-speak-1219298/

Wayne Koestenbaum, The Queen’s Throat: Opera, Homosexuality, and the Mystery of Desire (London: Da Capo Press, 2001)

Barbara McMahon, “Zeffirelli Tells All about Priest’s Sexual Assault,” The Guardian, November 21, 2006, sec. World news, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2006/nov/21/books.film

Peter Murphy, “Bruce Robinson Interview,” The New Review, accessed January 31, 2022, https://web.archive.org/web/20070707184620/http://www.laurahird.com/newreview/brucerobinson.html

John J. O’Connor, “TV Review; Zeffirelli’s Lavish ‘Turandot’ at the Met Opera,” The New York Times, January 27, 1988, sec. Arts, https://www.nytimes.com/1988/01/27/arts/tv-review-zeffirelli-s-lavish-turandot-at-the-met-opera.html

Neda Ulaby, “Franco Zeffirelli, Creator Of Lavish Productions On Screen And Stage, Dies At 96,” NPR, June 15, 2019, sec. Obituaries, https://www.npr.org/2019/06/15/514094174/franco-zeffirelli-creator-of-lavish-productions-on-screen-and-stage-dies-at-96

Daniel J. Wakin, “For Opening Night at the Metropolitan, a New Sound: Booing,” The New York Times, September 22, 2009, sec. Arts, https://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/23/arts/music/23opera.html

Franco Zeffirelli, Zeffirelli: The Autobiography of Franco Zeffirelli, 1st American ed (New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1986)

“Opera: ‘Falstaff’ Staged by Zeffirelli; New Production of the Met Is Magnificent; Bernstein Conducts —Colzani in Title Role,” The New York Times, March 7, 1964, sec. Archives, https://www.nytimes.com/1964/03/07/archives/opera-falstaff-staged-by-zeffirelli-new-production-of-the-met-is.html

Our intro music is Arpeggia Colorix by Yann Terrien, downloaded from WFMU's Free Music Archive and distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Our outro music is by DJ Michaeloswell Graphicsdesigner.

----more----

You Might Like

In Bed
In Bed
Nova Podcasts
Queer as Fact
Queer as Fact
Queer as Fact
Internet Hate Machine
Internet Hate Machine
Cool Zone Media and iHeartPodcasts
You Must Remember This
You Must Remember This
Karina Longworth
Done & Dunne
Done & Dunne
Hemlock Creatives
Queens Podcast
Queens Podcast
Queens Podcast
The Fourcast
The Fourcast
Channel 4 News
Who shat on the floor at my wedding?
Who shat on the floor at my wedding?
Who shat on the floor at my wedding?
Fakes and Frauds
Fakes and Frauds
Fakes and Frauds
Gone Medieval
Gone Medieval
History Hit
If Books Could Kill
If Books Could Kill
Michael Hobbes & Peter Shamshiri
Vulgar History
Vulgar History
Vulgar History | Realm
True Gay Crime
True Gay Crime
Patrick Marano
You're Wrong About
You're Wrong About
Sarah Marshall