19 February 2019

19 February

Massimo Troisi – actor, writer and director

Tragic star died hours after completing finest work

Massimo Troisi, the comic actor, writer and director who suffered a fatal heart attack in 1994 only 12 hours after shooting finished on his greatest movie, was born on this day in 1953 in a suburb of Naples. Troisi co-directed and starred in Il Postino, which won an Oscar for best soundtrack after being nominated in five categories, the most nominations in Academy Awards history for an Italian film.  Plagued by heart problems for much of his life, he was due to fly to London for a transplant the following day but died in his sleep at his sister’s house in Ostia, outside Rome. Read more…


Luigi Boccherini – musician

Composer gave the cello prominence in his charming quintets

Cellist and composer Luigi Rodolfo Boccherini was born on this day in 1743 in Lucca in Tuscany. Boccherini is particularly known for a minuet from his String Quintet in E, which became popular after its use by characters posing as musicians in the 1955 film, The Ladykillers, which starred Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers. Though his works became neglected after his death in 1805 they enjoyed a revival after the Boccherini Quintet was formed in Rome, who started performing them in the 1950s. Read more…


Vittorio Grigolo - opera singer

Tenor courted public popularity as way to land 'serious' roles

The operatic tenor Vittorio Grigolo was born on this day in 1977 in Arezzo in Tuscany.  Grigolo has performed at many of the world's leading opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera in New York. He attended the prestigious Sistine Chapel Choir School in Rome as a boy and was tipped for greatness yet he achieved fame as a serious performer after first releasing an album of popular songs and using reality TV shows to put himself in the public eye. Read more…


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