Cher Public

Mirella Freni: money laundress?

Soprano Mirella Freni is under investigation by the Bologna District Attorney’s office of Bologna for money laundering and exportation of money abroad in connection with the BER bank. The artist from Modena, 76, will be heard by the magistrates in the next few days to clarify her position, now that the DA Antonella Scandellari has sent her a notice of the closing of the investigations. The singer has so far denied any wrongdoing. (Thanks to Our Own Ercole Farnese for the tip!) [Corriere della Sera]

  • manou

    Chi mi Freni in tal momento!

  • Nerva Nelli

    OMG. What’s next?

    “Jose van Dam: Mafia Hitman”

    “Heather Harper: White Slave Trader”

    “Phyllis Curtin: High-End Hollywood Madame”

  • OpinionatedNeophyte

    Upon booking Madame Freni, police confiscated one hollowed out Byzantine Cross.

    • Quanto Painy Fakor

      Ghiaurov’s first wife’s name was Zaltina. We used to call her Zlut for short.

  • manou

    Madame Cent Yen.

  • peter

    A mistake has been made. Freni set up a small dry cleaning and laundering business to supplement her recording royalties and her only crime is using too much starch.

  • perfidia

    There’s an opera here. Who could do the music? Let’s hope they don’t send her off to die in the deserts of Louisiana.

  • semira mide

    How patriotic of her -- the Euro could use a little starch!

  • callasorphan

    Mother of god, this cannot be true because I have worshipped her for years. Next I will hear that my mom ran the Greek Mafia and is really responsible for the Greek financial crisis although she’s been dead for many years. I am wailing and knashing my teeth. Does this mean that even an opera singer can be on the “wrong” side of the law? Any “inside” info on crooked singers?

    • manou

      (pe)Tito Beltràn.

      • Buster

        Waltraud Hill

    • brooklynpunk

      “Does this mean that even an opera singer can be on the “wrong” side of the law”

      …..Enrico Caruso and the Case of the Central Park MonkeyHouse Goosing. incident.?

    • OpinionatedNeophyte

      I believe Kathy Battle was semi-arrested after accosting a furniture store clerk who mistook her mother for her sister somewhere in North Carolina. Possibly Durham? That story may be apocryphal. At least Mirella has the sense to keep her crime strictly white collar.

      • brooklynpunk

        “…who mistook her mother for her sister…”

        Were they in the middle of a road-company production of “Chinatown”??…LOL!

        …AND, how does one wind up..”semi-arrested”…?

      • Loge

        It was Brevard, NC. She and the clerk got into a fight and the police were called. They escorted Ms. Battle out of the store. The next day Ms. Battle returned to the store and resumed the fight. This time she was arrested. And they had mistaken her sister for her mother.

  • Cocky Kurwenal

    Not our beloved Mirella! Didn’t Pavarotti face vaguely similar accusations? I forget how that ended.

    Here is Freni in 1963 being gorgeous:

    • grimoaldo

      Pavarotti was cleared of tax evasion in 2001 but had previously been convicted --
      “he was fined $4.55m in 1999 and (in 2000)agreed to repay the Italian Government over $11m in back taxes and penalties.”

    • Baltsamic Vinaigrette

      Thank you, CK --

      and in the event that she is found to be colpabile in any way, the authorities should bear in mind that La Freni has done her bit for Italy’s balance of payments. No trouble to them when they banged up Sophia Loren back in the 1980s -- but then, fans didn’t so much travel to Italy to see her in person, the way that many music lovers definitely did when it came to Mirella.

      Remember when the fans paid for musicians to serenade Sophia each evening of her 30-day stint behind bars? Who would be fit to trill to Freni if she were ever sent to chokey -- and what jailbird-themed pieces should they perform?

  • MontyNostry

    Looks like she could be following in the footsteps of Sophia Loren. By the way, what was the writ that was served on Callas, leading to the legendary snarling Butterfly photo?

    • grimoaldo

      “During performances of Madama Butterfly in Chicago, Callas was confronted by a process server who handed her papers about a lawsuit brought by Eddy Bagarozy, who claimed he was her agent. Callas was photographed with her mouth turned in a furious snarl. The photo was sent around the world and gave rise to the myth of Callas as a temperamental prima donna and a “Tigress”.

      Callas was furious not only about the substance of the writ but about the fact that the opera house had allowed the server to get to her backstage during a performance.

      • manou

      • callasorphan

        I love that photo of Maria snarling. I am sure that she could have done a scene from Medea in full voice.

  • tannengrin

    Her defense will run somewhere along these lines:

    I wonder if there will be a Signore Scarpia among her interrogators.

  • rysanekfreak

    Leeeeeeeeve meeeeeRELLLLLLLLLa alOHHHHHHHHHHHHHne!!!!

  • Why are they pursuing great divas for white collar crimes when other divas are committing the greatest sin of omitting trills?

    • No Expert


  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Ghiaurov’s first wife’s name was Zlatina. We used to call her Zlut for short.

  • Oh mon dieu, Mirella,

    Vous me donnerez du courage; Vous me protégerez, Seigneur!

  • Camille

    One would have thought that this would have all come out in the wash at the time she was still singing Madame Sans-Gene, so obvious that role, a giveaway.

    One would also think it more important to rid the country of that modern day Caligula then to persecute a little old nonna who has given untold thousands a bit of pleasure and beauty in their lives.

    At any rate, it is all Pavarotti’s fault: he got the lion’s share of the milk from that wetnurse they shared back in their mutual infancy.