Italian composer of Rome theme song dies at 95

Associated Press + More

By FRANCES D'EMILIO, Associated Press

ROME (AP) — Armando Trovajoli, an Italian who composed music for some 300 films and whose lush and playful serenade to Rome is a much-requested romantic standby for tourists, has died at age 95.

The city's mayor, Gianni Alemanno, mourned Trovajoli's passing, saying in a statement that "the voice of Rome has been extinguished." The Italian news agency ANSA said widow Maria Paola Trovajoli announced the death Saturday, saying her husband had died a few days before in Rome but declining to give the exact date.

Roman by birth, Trovajoli began his musical career as a pianist, playing jazz and dance music. He appeared with many jazz stars, among them Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Louis Armstrong, Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt.

In the 1950s, his prolific relationship with the film world took flight. Travojoli composed for many of Italy's hit movies of the next decades, especially comedies.

He wrote the music for two of Sophia Loren's most famous films, "A Special Day" and "Two Women," which won her an Oscar. Others included the neorealist classic "Riso Amaro (Bitter Rice)" and "Marriage Italian Style," another Loren film.

Among the directors turning to him were some of Italy's best in the decades following World War II, including Ettore Scola, Vittorio De Sica, Dino Risi and Luigi Comencini.

But it the lushly orchestrated "Roma nun fa' la stupida stasera" written for the 1962 stage musical "Rugantino" that became Trovajoli's most famous song.

The title, translated from the Roman dialect, literally means "Rome, don't act silly this evening." Composed as a duet, it is sung by would-be suitors who beg the city to put on its magic so romance might bloom.

The first performance was sung by Nino Manfredi and Lea Massari, and it is featured on a recently released Andrea Bocelli album of pop favorites.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.