CIAMA honors admired maestro

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The Cegliesi Italo American Association honored acclaimed conductor Maestro Raffaele Cardone at its 44th annual dinner dance on Oct. 21 at Alta Villa Banquets in Addison. (847-224-9324)

A bio provided by the organization follows:

Maestro Raffaele Cardone

Maestro Raffaele Cardone is a native son of our beloved Ceglie who has traveled the world and performed with the greats in his career as a renowned tenor and opera director.

Maestro Cardone has had an extensive career as a professional opera singer, voice teacher, opera coach, stage director and clinician. His work in the field over a period of 65 years has had a far-reaching influence on opera stages worldwide.

He was recently honored by the President of the Republic with the title of Ufficiale Dell’Ordine Della Stella D’Italia for his cultural contribution to the arts and for the promotion of friendship and good relations between Italy and foreign countries.

In 2003, he founded the Miami Lyric Opera with a mission of providing local artists with valuable operatic performing opportunities. The pioneer and director of Miami Lyric Opera began his career humbly.

Raffaele was born in 1934 to Antonio Cardone and Assunta Turano and sang as a child soloist in churches and the cathedral in Bari. He received his first musical lessons in his hometown, including from his father, a distinguished flautist. As a teenager, Raffaele took voice lessons with tenor Giuseppe Racalbuto and soprano Delia Sanzio Montesanto in Milano, Italy, until he was heard and accepted as a student by the famous baritone Carlo Tagliabue in the city of Monza. Maestro Cardone studied operatic repertoire and classical music with distinguished maestri in Italy and abroad.

Fate played its hand when young Raffaele sang for Bruno Landi, a tenor who enjoyed an international career. Soon, Raffaele joined a touring group in Argentina, making his international debut at the age of 19 at the Teatro El Circulo in Rosario, Argentina, as the Duke of Mantua in “Rigoletto.” He made his Italian debut in Genova as Alfredo in Verdi’s “La traviata” and toured Eastern Europe in “Il barbiere di Siviglia.”

Raffaele’s career was then stalled due to health issues. He had his first heart attack in 1974, just after meeting his wife-to-be, Teresa. He recovered, and he and Teresa went on to raise their family of five children.

His final performance as a singer was in 1982 in the role of Arturo in “I puritani” at Bellas Artes in Mexico alongside Antonio Almeida, a protégé of Leonard Bernstein’s. He retired from performing on stage in 1984 and spent his time singing concerts and training aspiring singers in master classes and private lessons.

It was his health that drew Raffaele to Miami. Once there, he and Teresa fell in love with the city and culture. He quickly noticed that south Florida did not satisfactorily nurture classically trained singers, wondering what the singers would do with their talents once they developed them.

The Miami Lyric Opera was created to solve that problem. Here, aspiring talent could go on to perform and showcase their skills. Beginning with just a few singers and a piano, the MLO now delivers fully staged operas. The 2018 season included performances of Giacomo Puccini’s “La bohéme” and Georges Bizet’s “Carmen.”

If you are in the Miami area on Oct. 27 and 28, plan to enjoy the performance of Gioachino Rossini’s “La Cenerentola” at the South Miami Dade Cultural Center. (


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Fra Noi produces a magazine and website that serve the Chicago-area Italian-American community. Our magazine offers our readers a monthly feast of news and views, culture and entertainment that keeps our diverse and widely scattered readers in touch with each other and their heritage. Our website offers a dizzying array of information drawn from every corner of the local community.

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