Italian conductor Giuseppe Patane, who won rave reviews for his U.S. appearances in the 1970s, died early Tuesday after collapsing on stage during a performance of the Munich City Opera. He was 57.
Patane apparently suffered a heart attack Monday night while conducting a new arrangement of the opera "The Barber of Seville." He was taken to a hospital, where he died.
Patane, the principal conductor of the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, regularly directed performances of the City Opera. He also led performances at the Bavarian National Theater in Munich.
Patane, who was born in Naples, Italy, began playing piano at the age of 6. He made his debut at 19, conducting a Naples performance of Verdi's "La Traviata."
Understudy to Conductors
In the next 10 years, he was understudy to such renowned Italian conductors as Victor De Sabata, Antonio Guarnieri, Tullio Serafin and Gabriele Santini.
In 1961, Patane became the first Italian to conduct Richard Wagner's "Lohengrin" in Linz, Austria, and in 1962 he became conductor of the German Opera in Berlin.
Patane's reputation led him to guest appearances in such famous music halls as La Scala in Milan, the Vienna National Opera in Austria and the Royal Covent Garden in London.
In 1970, he was named best Italian conductor, and in the following years he was hailed in appearances in San Francisco, Chicago and at New York's Metropolitan Opera House.
He knew 1,500 musical scores from memory, including 250 separate operas, according to Bavarian Radio Orchestra spokesman Rainer Tief.