Nino Martini: a tenor for Hollywood (fifth part)

Nino Martini con Harry Truman (a sinistra)

After this he left for Rome to resume the concerts for the American forces and at the end of July he returned to the United States were in September resumed his artistical activity. His commitments did not allow him any free time and in November 1945 he was flown to Washington in a governement airplane to hold a concert in honor of President Harry Truman, who was a passionate music lover (Truman was also present at a recital by Martini of Faust presented by the Philadelphia Opera in Washington), and with whom he had a pleasant conversation.
On this occasion he also met General Eisenhower, whom he will support in his presidential campaign. His artistic activity continued and in Spring 1946 he received proposals for a contract at the Vienna Opera and for concerts in Denmark, Sweden, Norway which he however turned down as he was tired of travelling. He spent the Summer in Italy meeting with friends and in Autum as usual resumed his activity.
Con Dwight D. EisenhowerIn April 1947 he married Nancy Maloney and immediately left for Italy: in Verona Mrs.Martini was noted for her beauty and pleasant ways. In June he was in London where he was engaged by Two Cities Films Ltd for the production of the movie “One Night with You” (a remake of the Italian movie “Fuga a due voci” produced in 1941 starring Gino Bechi and Irasema Dilian) at the side of Patricia Roc and directed by Terence Young. The outside shots were done in Italy at Stresa on Lake Maggiore and in Bergamo, while the inside shots were filmed in England.
In December he returned to the United States and in January resumed his artistic activity followed by a series of concerts and operatic recitals in South and Central Africa. In June he returned to Italy for a vacation: in Verona he often attended the lyrical shows in the Arena and to rest he went to Iesolo, than a peaceful sea town, to Lake Garda of which he was parCon la moglie Nancyticularly fond and to Boscochiesanuova, a mountain resort near Verona.
In memory of his parents, he wanted to donate a Blanchard portable plasitc respirator to the Verona Hospital of the childrens. This piece of equipment was similar to the famous iron lung and was utilized especially for the childrens afflicted by poliomylitis, at that time an uncontrolled calamity. During the presentation and testing of the machine by the representive of the American producer,the head pediatrician prof. Mengoli underlined the necessity to use it immediately for a boy who was in critical conditions. The representative yielded to of department’s head the request as Nino, aside from donating the machine, also assumes the expenses of having anhother machine flown over to serve as a sample. The hospital administrators promised to dedicate the room in which the machine was to be installed to Martini’s parents,but this remained a mere promise.
In the Autumn of 1948 he returned to America to resume his activity which he con il soprano A.Galli-Curcialternates with longer and longer vacations as he was becoming tired and wished the enjoy the fruits of his activity in peace. In October 1949 in Verona he held a charity concert in favour of a fund for streptomycin; the following March, due to a promise made to Zenatello, who died in February 1949 in New York, he sang “Madame Butterfly” with Rina Malatrasi. These are the only two occasions on which he sang in his home city after 1928. In January 1952 he ends his career with no advance notice and returned to Italy. The following years of his life were spent mostly in Verona rather eventlessly. He was always present at the lyrical season of the Arena, he spent his summers on the beaches in Romagna or in the Dolomite mountains, he traveled to other European countries and tended to his bussiness as he had bought some farm land.
Then, starting in the 1960, hecon il soprano Lily Pons e il marito di lei André Kostelanetz spent a period of each year in the USA, where he visited old friends,in particular female ones. The years passed: in 1962 Cristina was born. She is the daughter of one of his nephews and the first niece of Martini. He went crazy for this little girl who looked very much like him: he wanted to see her very often,he followed her every step and satisfied all her wishes showering her with gifts. But he did not only satisfy the wishes of his niece: Martini had always been kind, generous and altruistic: anyone who came to his door asking for help never left empty handed. He did not forget about Mrs.Crestani,who had been his first music teacher now indigent,who asked him for help reminding him of his promise to help her if she was ever in need and he should have a successful career.
Con Stan Laurel e Oliver HardyHe did not forget about all his friends and acquaintances that did not have the same luck as he did,of the Fathers of the Stimate Istitute where he had, so to speak, taken his first steps in the art of singing. On the afternoon of December 9th 1976, he was walking in the city among the market stalls set up for the event of the Saint Lucy festival (in Verona the evening of Saint Lucy is a big celebration for the children: during the days leading up to the 13th of December, the city is transformed, the centre is invaded by stalls and the children wait impatiently for the night of the 13th because it is then that the Saint passes by with her donkey loaded with gifts for the good children and coal for the naughty ones) and he searches for presents for his great-nephews and nieces: he had his first heart attack and was taken immediately to the coronary unit of the cardiological ward at the Ospedale Civile Maggiore,but, during the night, a second attack put an end to his life. (Dec.10,1976; 1:45 A.M.)