26 June 2023

26 June

NEW - Claudio Abbado – conductor

The distinguished career of a multi award-winning musician

The internationally acclaimed orchestra conductor Claudio Abbado was born on this day in 1933 in Milan.  Abbado was musical director at La Scala, the opera house in his native city, from 1972 to 1980 and remained affiliated to the theatre until 1986. He was the principal conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra and was appointed director of the Vienna State Opera and the Berlin Philharmonic.  Born into a musical family, Abbado studied the piano with his father, Michelangelo Abbado from being eight years old. His father was a professional violinist and a professor at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory. His mother, Maria Carmela Savagnone, was a pianist and his brother, Marcello, became a concert pianist, a composer, and a teacher.  The Nazis occupied Milan during his childhood and his mother spent time in prison for harbouring a Jewish child. Abbado grew up to have anti-fascist political beliefs.  Abbado studied piano, composition and conducting at the Milan Conservatory. After deciding to be a conductor, he went to study in Vienna, winning the Koussevitsky prize in 1958 and the Metropolitan Prize in 1963. Read more… 


Paolo Maldini - football great

Milan defender's record-breaking career spanned 25 years

Paolo Maldini, the AC Milan defender who won the European Cup and Champions League more times than any other player in the modern era, was born on this day in 1968 in Milan.  A Milan player for the whole of his 25-year professional career - plus six years as a youth player before that - Maldini won Europe's biggest club prize five times. Only Francisco Gento, a member of the all-conquering Real Madrid side of the 1950s and 60s, has more winner's medals.  Maldini also won seven Serie A championships plus one Coppa Italia and five Supercoppa Italiana titles in domestic competition, as well as five European Super Cups, two Intercontinental Cups and a World Club Cup.  Only in international football did trophies elude him, although he played on the losing side in the finals of both the World Cup, in 1994, and the European Championships, in 2000.  His European Cup/Champions League triumphs came under the management of Arrigo Sacchi (1989 and 1990), Fabio Capello (1994) and Carlo Ancelotti (2003 and 2007).  The 1994 victory by 4-0 against Barcelona was described as one of the greatest team performances of all time.   Read more…


Alberto Rabagliati - singer and actor

Performer found fame through radio

The singer and movie actor Alberto Rabagliati, who became one of the stars of Italian radio in the 1930s and 40s, was born on this day in 1906 in Milan.  His movie career reached a peak in the post-War years, when he had roles in the Humphrey Bogart-Ava Gardner hit Barefoot Contessa and in Montecarlo, starring Marlene Dietrich.  The son of parents who had moved to Milan from the village of Casorzo, near Asti, in Piedmont, Rabagliati’s career in the entertainment business began when he entered a competition in 1927 to find a Rudolph Valentino lookalike.  To his astonishment he won.  The prize was to be taken to Hollywood to audition, so his life changed overnight.  Later he recalled his own wide-eyed incredulity as he sailed across the Atlantic, bound for a new life.  "For someone like me, who had never been beyond Lake Como or Monza Cathedral, finding myself on board a luxury steamer with three cases full of clothes, a few rolls of dollars, grand-duchesses and countesses flirting with me was something extraordinary".  He lived in America for the next four years but never achieved more than modest success and decided to return to Italy.  Read more…


San Marino is bombed by Britain

British believed the Germans were using rail facilities

The British Royal Air Force bombed the tiny Republic of San Marino on this day in 1944 as a result of receiving incorrect information.  It was recorded at the time that 63 people were killed as a result of the bombing, which was aimed at rail facilities. The British mistakenly believed that the Germans were using the San Marino rail network to transport weapons.  San Marino had been ruled by Fascists since the 1920s but had managed to remain neutral during the war.  After the bombing, San Marino’s government declared that no military installations or equipment were located on its territory and no belligerent forces had been allowed to enter.  However, by September of the same year San Marino was briefly occupied by German forces, but they were defeated by the Allied forces in the Battle of San Marino.  After the war, San Marino was ruled by the world’s first democratically-elected Communist government, which held office between 1945 and 1957.  The Republic of San Marino is not a member of the European Union but uses the euro as its currency.  San Marino, which is on the border between Emilia-Romagna and Marche, remains an independent state within Italy.  Read more…


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