Bottesini and the Pope

Pope Leo XIII (reigned 1878-1903) should by all rights have been an enemy of Bottesini because of the latter's presumed (but in fact not actual) support of the Italian risorgimento.

Some have called the extraordinary move of making Bottesini's bow a holy relic a desperate attempt to garner support from the active and wealthy class of retired Italian opera composers, a theory that holds little or no credibility, given that fact that Bottesini was abandoned and nearly forgotten by his colleagues as he lay on his deathbed in Parma. Clearly, the Pope was sincerely moved by what he had heard from Il Devastatore.

Back to "Il Devastatore and the Critics"

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