Luigi Arditi


Violinist, conductor, life-long friend and frequent traveling companion of Bottesini.

Bottesini and Arditi met in Havana, where Arditi was conductor of the Italian Opera Company. Their tours of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and other American cities and resorts in 1847-49 transformed the face of music in the United States. Bottesini and Arditi frequently played duets to wild adulation -- and though Arditi, unlike Bottesini, stood deep in the shadow of Paganini, there was a musical chemistry between them that electrified audiences wherever they played.

Arditi said of Bottesini: "He is a Bassist. There is no denying that. But he has the soul of an artist." Scholars may overlook the sidelong anti-bass sentiment of this comment in view of its overall accuracy.

When Arditi heard about Bottesini's death, he is said to have exclaimed, "The lights have once again turned out in the lower register!"

The one stain on Arditi's reputation is that in 1890 he "corrected" Bottesini's opera La regina di Nepal, changing the setting from Japan to Nepal and in the process damaging the work's integrity.

"We all must learn where to place our fingers."
© 1997, Jeff Brooks (