Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini, Marquis and Opera Stage Director: a life dedicated to Beauty and Music

Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini, born in Ripatransone, lived first in Fermo (Marche), the town of origin of his family, and then in Rome where he obtained the School-leaving Certificate (Science) and proceeded studying Law and Psychology at La Sapienza University of Rome and piano as a hobby.


The journalist

As a young journalist in the mid 1970s, he began his career with Vatican Radio and Radio Lugano (Italian Switzerland). Between 1977 and 1993, he directed very popular broadcasts for the three main radio channels of RAI. Meanwhile, he started writing for local newspapers and magazines and has been a frequent contributor to “Il Mattino” ,“Il Corriere della Sera” and also for the weekly magazine, “Gente” as well as for numerous specialized music publications. He also wrote specialist articles not only in Italy but also in Spain, England, France, Austria, Germany, the Soviet Union, Switzerland, Tunisia, Egypt, Iraq, Canada, Greece, China, Japan, and Turkey. He is a member of the Italian Musical Critics Association and the Journalists’ Association . He has written texts for the covers of records and for theatre programmes (San Carlo Theatre of Naples, Ente Arena of Verona, Festival of Asolo, Monte-Carlo Opera House, etc.). In the 1980s, he extended his experience becoming Press Office Head for important festivals, such as Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Sagra Musicale Umbra, Festival delle Nazioni di Città di Castello, Festival Pucciniano di Torre del Lago and the Sagra Malatestiana of Rimini. In 1989 he was appointed head of the press office of the Teatro dell’Opera of Rome where he also established and managed the Publications Office and had several cultural publications printed. He remained a member of the Art Direction Team until 1997.

The Art Adviser and Art Director

In 1987 he returned to his hometown as Art Adviser at the Festival di Fermo where he promoted cooperation with the principal events in Italy and abroad until 1991. He planned the “first performances in modern times” of musicians of 1700-1800, including Cimarosa, Rossini, Donizetti and Cherubini (“première”) and commissioned works by the most famous modern composers, launching the event at an international level. In 1993-1994, he was appointed to the Teatro dell’Opera as assistant to the Art Director, Maestro Gian Carlo Menotti, and put in charge of some sectors of the “Il Teatro dell’Opera per la Città” project. For the Opera of Roma he was in charge of the art direction for the theatre’s tournée in Nagoya, Japan. In 1994 by Government Decree, he was appointed as a new member of the first Board of Experts at the Dipartimento dello Spettacolo della Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri for the three-year period from 1994 to 1996. From 1994 to July of 1996 he was Art Adviser to the restored Teatro Ventidio Basso in Ascoli Piceno which re-opened after fifteen years of work on October 15, 1994. There he organized seasons of opera, ballet, symphony performances, and chamber music concerts. In 1995 and 1996 he was Art Secretary of the Festival delle Nazioni in Città di Castello.

The International Artistic Consultant

During the 1997-1998 season, he was also appointed as Artistic Consultant of Production of “Aida,” directed and staged by Franco Zeffirelli, and performed in Japan on the occasion of the inauguration of the New National Theatre of Tokyo. In 2000 Grisostomi Travaglini was appointed by the Ministry of Culture of the Turkish Republic as general manager of the Ankara State Opera and Ballet, concurrently working as Musical Director up to the year 2002. In 2002 he was asked once again to go to Tokyo as director at the New National Theatre for a new production of “Lucia di Lammermoor”. The premiere on October 11 was attended by Their Imperial Majesties, the Emperor and Empress of Japan. In 2004 Tokyo’s “LaVoce inc” invited him to the New National Theatre to direct a new production of “Lucia di Lammermoor”. The performance was staged at the New National Theatre and recorded on DVD. Cast: Mariella Devia, Marcelo Álvarez, Renato Bruson, Carlo Colombara. Conductor Stefano Ranzani. The DVD was released commercially in 2005.


The Opera Producer

Since 1982, Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini has been called in Italy and many countries worldwide to stage popular opera titles in prestigious locations (Aida, Turandot, Rigoletto, Madame Butterfly, Lucia de Lammermoor, etc…), which are either wide spaces in the open or classical theatre scenes. He has taken advantage of his numerous travels to write articles in various publications, newspapers and magazines as well as holding conferences and seminar communications on special requests all over the world.

The Writer

He wrote a book on the life of Katia Ricciarelli which was published on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of her career. He also authored the book “I Teatri a Roma: Il Costanzi.” He wrote a musical study on Verdi’s opera “Macbeth” which was translated into French and published by Monte-Carlo Opera. His musicological book on “Madama Butterfly” was translated into Spanish for the Puccini Festival in Valencia and was presented to the audience during a conference in Spain. His two other musicological books: “Aida” and “Turandot” were translated into Turkish and published by the Ankara State Opera and Ballet.


An Italian Doctor in Cambodia: Professor Emidio Grisostomi Travaglini in Battambang in 1999


In a very interesting book, Professor Emidio Grisostomi Travaglini, uncle of my friend Marquess Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini, is telling about his experience in Cambodia in Battambang during 1999 Christmas. Here are his words in Italian and I will try to provide a suitable English translation.



Christmas 1999 in Cambodia:

On 28th March 2000, Professor Grisostomi is telling us about his experience in Cambodia:

“During last Christmas holiday (1999), instead of my usual mountain holiday, I accepted the proposal for a collaboration with a hospital in Battambang in Cambodia, set up by Emergency NGO which is taking care of war victims, especially the ones wounded by landmines.

Still nowadays, years after the end of the war, the consequences of the conflicts are vivid and devastating. More than 90% of the victims are civilians: women and elders, young and adults are wounded while cultivating their fields or feeding their cattle, but above all, children, tragically caught while playing or helping their parents.

The estimation is that at least 2000 victims per month are wounded by the 100000000 landmines disseminated  and hidden in the Cambodian territory. The landmine clearance, a longterm work, which requests the precison of high-trained professionals, is slow, expensive and extremely dangerous. Unfortunately, in many zones, one must bitterly admit that this landmine clearance is done by poor ignorant people, who are obliged for the necessity of life to sacrifice one leg, one arm, etc… thus eliminating some of these criminal landmines.

To help these persons, it has become necessary to open specialised medical centres with physicians, nurses, physiotherapists and orthopedic technicians. Volunteers were called to support these initiatives.




Once again, Italy has shown attention and sensitiveness in organising and sending help through Emergency NGO,  which already intervened in Rwanda during the genocide periods, in Kurdistan, Afghanistan and Cambodia, where I took part personally as orthopedic surgeon at Battambang hospital, in a structure which bears the name of the journalist Ilaria Alpi. The patients of this hospital were mainly victims of landmines which were located on the border with Thailand. Only in 1999, more than 1000 of them were killed and tens of thousands of persons remained handicaped and unable to earn a living for themselves hence.

Moreover, the situation was dramatically worsened by nature and the frequent rains, which on the one hand, make possible the necessary rice growing but on the other hand, when they are very heavy, the water is transporting and hiding again and again landmines so to transform ricefields in very dangerous insidious traps for local people, who are already suffering disease such as malaria, polio, aids, etc…  The country is also suffering the lack of medical staff and structures, totally cancelled by the Khmer Rouge and the only ones available are very expensive and normal people cannot afford to be cured in the right way.


In these circumstances, the  Battambang Hospital is significantly reducing the number of landmine victims and at the same time, giving a very good preparation to surgeons and medical staff to be at the right level to deal with problematics such as poliomyelite disease ill persons, quite numerous, due to the cancellation of the vaccinations during the dictatorship of the Khmer Rouge and people presenting congenital malformations as well as bone infections. The director was Italian Lady Anna Marchesi, ICRC, who was very experienced in post-conflict situations.

The medical team at my arrival was made of one general surgeon from Kurdistan, one anesthesist from Mongolia, one physiotherapist from England, two Italian nurses and one French. We were also helped by three young Cambodian doctors and numerous local nurses. It is with them that I spent my Christmas holiday. I would have wanted to transmit all my medical skills and experience in those (unfortunately) too short days. I must admit that the hospital, although it was particularly furnished for emergency situations, allows me to cure different unexpected cases, which I already had to face in Africa for instance. Especially when the patients arrived with wounds at faces, arms and above all, eyes.



For me, as well, although I was used to emergency operations, to see children and young people wounded in many parts of their bodies remains an indescriptible shock. The last patient I operated before coming back to Italy, a young farmer who lost both hands and was almost blind, has been lika a desperate SOS to stop all these tragedies.

I experienced once again that being useful is always satisfactory, even more for the one who gives that for the one who receives. I would like, however, to recall and acknowledge the collaboration, which is unfortunately always insufficient, of various organisations, such as the Italian Rotary Club, who helped the Battambang Hospital to refurbish one surgery room; or the funding given by the Swiss Rotary Club of an ICRC prothesis centre.

To conclude, I cannot not invite you to support with determination and concrete facts the campaign for the cancellation of landmines, who reduce military and above all, innocent civilians to the state of human ruins. Emergency has demonstrated to be an efficient initiative, little but significant instrument; this is why it deserves unconditional support to be more known and helped to grow up.”