Zeffirelli: an Autobiography by Franco Zeffirelli
Franco Zeffirelli is one of the towering figures of modern theatre, a man whose career has spanned four decades and has brought him to the heights of his profession as director of both operas and movies. Internationally recognized for such film classics as La Traviata starring Placido Domingo, and the Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton Taming of the Shrew, his opera productions command sellout performances on both sides of the Atlantic. He is widely considered the foremost interpreter of opera for cinema, and his film production of Verdi's Otello, again starring Placido Domingo, opens in the United States in September.
Now, turning his hand to autobiography, Mr. Zeffirelli has written a book as large, vibrant, and star-studded as his previous epics in other media. Here is the story of his difficult boyhood in Italy, his life as a partisan fighting the Nazis, his stormy first years as a director, and his subsequent meteoric rise to international fame. Here is the candid account of people, operas, movies, that have shaped his career. And here is the tale of the near-fatal auto mobile accident with Gina Lollobrigida that changed his life forever, leading to the epic Jesus of Nazareth.
Zeffirelli has been the intimate and colleague of many of the great personalities of our period. His autobiography offers a profusion of anecdotes and scenes, from the time Zeffirelli was saved from a firing squad to the moment Maria Callas lost her legendary voice; from the high comedy of Tennessee Williams drunk on a set to the drama of the young Zeffirelli's confrontation with Toscanini. His portraits of such masters as Visconti, Bernstein, Pavarotti, and Richard Burton are unforgettable, and he proves as forthright in his description of others as he is candid about his own life.