Fiora Corradetti Contino, 91, passed away on March 5, 2017 at Sunrise on Old Meridian, Carmel, Indiana. Operatic, choral, and symphonic conductor, university professor, and vocal coach, she has influenced countless students, professional singers, and conductors. She was born June 17, 1925 into an eminent musical family in New York, NY to Anna (Lisarelli) and Ferruccio Corradetti, leading baritone at La Scala and one of the world’s first recording artists. As a child, her talent was apparent as a pianist and church organist. Fiora’s admission to Oberlin College was supported by a letter of recommendation from renowned conductor, Arturo Toscanini, a contemporary of her father. Upon graduation, she married fellow graduate and musician, Joseph Contino; they had four children. While teaching at Smith College, she founded the Amherst Community Opera Company at the age of 28. In 1958, she pursued conducting studies at the Conservatoire Americain in Fontainebleau and the Ecole Normale in Paris with Nadia Boulanger. Upon Fiora’s return to the states, she completed a doctorate of music at the Indiana University School of Music, and since that time has held conducting, faculty, and administrative positions at Indiana University, Bowling Green State University, Peabody, and the University of Texas at Austin. Fiora’s opera conducting career includes performances at the Aspen Music Festival, Memphis Opera, Anchorage Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, and San Francisco Opera. Fiora enjoyed the last 19 years of her professional conducting career as the artistic director of Opera Illinois in Peoria, a post from which she retired in 2005. Fiora’s career continued into her eighties, when she served as interim director of music at Second Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis. At age 91, she was still coaching opera singers who traveled from near and far to work with her.
She is survived by daughters, Lisa Contino, Adriana Contino, and Francesca Levitt (Joseph); son, Frederic L. Contino (Susan); nine grandchildren, Nicholas Ehrmann (Annie), Alison Hager (Chris), Brandon Contino (Mandi), Frederic Contino (Brianna), Anthony Contino (Amanda), Christina Contino, Fiora Aycan, Anna Levitt, Eric Levitt; 14 great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her lifelong companion, Jeraldine Baumgartner, as well as her sister, Adriana Corradetti.
Services will be private. Memorial contributions may be made to Music Ministry at Second Presbyterian Church. Arrangements were entrusted to Flanner and Buchanan - Carmel. Friends may share condolences at www.flannerbuchanan.com.