Irma Capece Minutolo, Opera Singer and Partner to Exiled King, Dies at 87

Neapolitan beauty queen and opera singer Irma Capeche Minutoro’s relationship with the exiled Egyptian king and world-famous hedonist Farouk I became the subject of gossip columnists around the world in June. He died at his home in Rome on the 7th. she was 87 years old.

Her death was confirmed by her niece, Irma Capese Minutoro.

Ms. Capes Minutoro first met Farouk in the early 1950s as a teenager from Naples. fled to ItalyAfter the 1952 military coup, he and other members of his family boarded the royal yacht.

It is written that during his reign “he had very exorbitant tastes”. his obituary According to The New York Times, “Public image in a poor country was so unimpressive that he soon became known as a wolf, a glutton and a capricious gambler.”

He brought that appetite back to Italy. “The name of this fine mustachioed, round-faced monarch has become synonymous with international playboy,” reported The Times. He died in 1965 at the age of 45 of a heart attack while dining late at a French restaurant in Rome.

Accounts of how the couple met vary, and are often filtered by the gossip standards of the time. According to the 1965 pulpy tell-all, Farouk: Uncensored, by a journalist named Michael Stern, Farouk had a crush on Ms. Capes Minutoro at a beauty pageant, and she exclaimed, “Scam!” When she couldn’t decide on a place before she arranged a meeting. (she was crowned by then) Miss Naples The year is 1953. )

Her niece, in an e-mail, disputed that and other statements, saying that 16-year-old Capese Minutoro was chosen to welcome Farouk on his arrival in Naples in 1952 with a bouquet of flowers and the Circolo Canottieri. He said he met at , an exclusive club in Naples in which her father was a member.

Her social status also became a question of sorts. Born in Naples on August 6, 1935, Ms Capeche Minutoro is often cited in the news media as a princess or marquise, and the venerable L’Annuario della Nobiltà Italiana (Almanac of the Italian Nobility) describes her as the next is described as A descendant of the Prince of Naples.

But in 1954, as rumors swirled about her impending marriage, she sued two Italian journalists who had reported that her parents were about to marry. the daughter of the driver and the janitor. Time magazine said at the time, “During the defamation trial against journalists, Irma’s father indignantly complained: ‘Doubting his daughter’s aristocratic descent was the father of Farouk’s fiancée, who was about to marry. It is a defamation of The resolution of the lawsuit is unclear. )

Her niece said Capese Minutoro’s father was Prince Augusto, who owned a luxury car dealership.

Another open question was whether marriage was in fact imminent. At the time of litigation, required time Capese Minutoro says: Farouk is wise and kind, but marriage is a graveyard of love. “

However, she later said the two were married in Islamic ceremonies in 1958. A British newspaper said Ms Capes Minutoro attended Farouk’s funeral with her first wife, Queen Farida. telegraph paper She reported that the former king’s will did not include her name. She was usually described as his companion in news media reports.

Early on, their relationship was compared to George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion, or perhaps My Fair Lady, with Farouk sending her to school or taking singing lessons in style. There was also a description that they made them accept and provided funds. “It was the perfect combination of Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins,” Stern wrote.

The singing lessons bore fruit in the early 1960s, with Farouk arranging his debut performance at the Black Tie Recital of Arias at the Art Club of Naples. Less than a minute after she began singing the first aria of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, her lights went out. “A few women started screaming,” recalled The Boston Globe in a 1969 article. “A lot of guys laughed out loud.”

A candle from the church next door soon arrived, and the flickering of the light was enough to finish the set. This was a worthy idea, except that the pianist’s score was lit up with candles and the performance was interrupted again.

As The Times reported, Ms Capese Minutoro became the punch line, further infamous as the girlfriend of the king, who was considered by her compatriots to be “prodigal and extraordinarily greedy”.

“People thought I was a dumb, untalented sexpot,” she told The Globe.

But that disastrous debut did not end her dreams. After Farooq’s death, Capese Minutoro moved into a small apartment and returned to her singing lessons. By the end of her decade she had many productions including Verdi’s ‘Il Trovatore’ in Rome and Puccini’s ‘Gianni Schicchi’ in Florence directed by the famous Italian baritone Tito Gobbi. He built a career by earning high acclaim for his performances.

She also appeared in several films, including Franco Zeffirelli’s Young Toscanini (1988) starring Elizabeth Taylor, before running a singing school in Rome.

There were no immediate survivors of Capes Minutoro.

According to The Globe, no performance would have repaid her career more than an appearance at the Parma Opera House, known for its ruthless heckles and “the lion’s den” in the late 1960s. reported.

“Audiences, fueled by her past notoriety as Farouk’s girlfriend, came to the theater in full capacity,” wrote The Globe. “But Irma fooled them all. Some fans shouted from the gallery seats, ‘First of all, the song is great.’ Second, you are beautiful. “

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