Michael Letchford Artists

The San Carlo Opera House, Naples 1943 – 1946 - Front Cover

The San Carlo Opera House, Naples 1943 – 1946

A history of the theatre under the directions of British and American military authorities during the Second World War

Includes a Chronolgy and artists’ biographies.

Following the purchase of a hand-full of programmes for performances of the San Carlo Opera during the Second World War, when the British Army in Naples administered the famous opera house, and discovering that there was no archive covering the years 1943 to 1946, Michael Letchford decided to compile a Chronology for these years. During a three period, following the partial liberation of Italy, many of the leading singers of the time, including Maria Caniglia, Margherita Carosio, Adriana Guerrini, Mario del Monaco, Benvenuto Franci, Beniamino Gigli, Tito Gobbi, Ebe Stignani and Ferruccio Tagliavini, made many appearances at San Carlo for the benefit of British and Allied troops and for the people of Naples. Gathering information only from the printed programmes of the time, this Work in Progress provides a vivid history not only of the singers involved but also insights into the management of the renovation of the historic opera house and the day-to-day running of an opera company in a time of conflict.

The San Carlo Opera appeared at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in the autumn of 1946 providing the first season of opera to be presented there since 1939. The late Alan Bilgora, then an enthusiastic teen-ager, attended some of these performances, which he vividly recalls in his valuable contribution. Alan also provides well researched biographies of the leading singers who took part in that historic season.

Available July 2021

234 pages with many illustrations £25 + £2.14 p/p for UK customers, £25 + £TBC EU , £25 + £TBC US & £25 + £TBC Australia Payments via Sterling cheques or via bank transfer (details will be sent via invoice) PayPal for non-Sterling area customers if preferred.

Available from Michael Letchford, Author & Publisher

View contact information »




Each volume includes: - A biography, reviews, performance chronology, discography, rare photographs and, where recordings exist, a CD.

All books are available from the author:

Michael Letchford, Goar Lodge, Smith’s Green, Takeley, CM22 6NS

Email mlartists2@gmail.com. Telephone +44 (0) 1279 870590. Mobile +44 (0) 7815 871766

Please request invoice, which will include cost of postage, with your name and address. Payment by Sterling cheque, PayPal or bank transfer. Thank you