A plaque will be installed on the top rail of the orchestra pit with the following inscription:
The Bruno Bartoletti Conductor's Podium. In celebration of 50 years at Lyric Opera. Under his baton, beautiful music was made. First Performance: Il trovatore, October 23, 1956. Dedicated: Il trovatore, December 8, 2006.
"Fifty years ago this very talented conductor arrived in Chicago for his first performances at the two-year-old Lyric Opera of Chicago," said William Mason, the company's general director. "Through 50 seasons, he has conducted more than 600 inspired performances and worked tirelessly with singers and orchestra to achieve the high musical standards that make this company one of the world's greatest. As a gesture of our deep respect and admiration for our Maestro, we have named our podium in his honor."
Bartoletti was a student of composer Luigi Dallapiccola, the 20th-century Italian musical giant, and was only 30 when he first arrived in Chicago. "I knew nothing about Chicago," Bartoletti recalls. "I knew I was supposed to conduct four operas here, but I didn't know which four! Trovatore turned out to be the first."
Bartoletti, whose home is in Florence, Italy, was the recipient in 2003 of the prestigious Abbiati Prize for Best Conductor, and in 2002 was awarded Italy's highest honor, the Cavaliere di Gran Croce (Knight of the Grand Cross). He will return to Lyric next fall to conduct La traviata.
Of his five-decade tenure at Lyric, Bartoletti offers a succinct reflection. "In 1956 I was a baby, but this company was a baby, too. We grew up together."