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Past Newsmakers

Fall 2011 Newsmakers

RICKY CARIOTI, has received a Pulitzer Prize for his photographs of Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake last year. Carioti, whose parents came from Italy, has been a photographer for The Washington Post since 1998. He has also won awards from the White House News Photographers Association.

JOHN CORIGLIANO, the Pulitzer-Prize composer of operas and orchestral music, had the premiere of his “One Sweet Morning” in September. He wrote it to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11, by setting to music four poems from different ages and countries that condemn war and promote peace.

SALVATORE LICITRA, the powerful Italian tenor, once hailed as “the next Pavarotti,” died Sept. 5 in Sicily following a motor scooter accident. He was 43 years old. Mr. Licitra became famous in 2002 when the Metropolitan Opera in NYC chose him as a last-minute replacement for an ailing Pavarotti in Puccini’s “Tosca,” which was to be Pavarotti’s final performance at the Met.

SERGIO MARCHIONNE, CEO of Chrysler and FIAT, paid off Chrysler’s debt to the U.S. government in May and bought shares that now give FIAT control of the giant U.S. automaker. Marchionne raised $7.5 billion to pay back the loans, saving Chrysler $300 million a year in interest. The U.S. government invested $12.5 billion in Chrysler and recovered $11.2 billion. FIAT put up $1.8 billion and shared its technology with the American company.

FRANK MASCARA, a Democrat from Pennsylvania who served eight years in the U.S. House of Representatives, died of lung cancer July 10 at age 81. The son of Italian immigrants, Mr. Mascara was previously an accountant and former factory worker. In Congress, he fought to raise the minimum wage, protect unions and ensure factory workers’ safety. In 2003, he lost his seat to John Murtha when his district was redrawn.

LISA MONACO was confirmed in June by the U.S. Senate as the assistant attorney general for the National Security Division of the Justice Department. She was nominated by President Obama. With this post, the Harvard-educator lawyer takes over “a critical counter-terrorism role, leading one of the first lines of defense against terrorist attacks and espionage plots,” according to the Washington Post.

LEON PANETTA was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in June as U.S. Secretary of Defense. Previously, he was President Obama’s CIA director; President Clinton’s chief of staff, and for 16 years, represented California in the U.S. House of Representatives.

GEORGE RANALLI, an award-winning architect in New York City, has had his Valentine #2 Chair selected for an exhibit from the permanent collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan. The exhibit runs through December 31.

THERESA CAPECE ROSEN, the long-time executive secretary of the Italian Historical Society of America, died at age 75 during surgery August 4. Ms. Rosen successfully lobbied to have the bridge linking Brooklyn and Staten Island named for Giovanni da Verrazzano, who entered New York Bay 85 years before Henry Hudson for whom the river was named.

JIMMY ROSELLI, one of the most popular post-war Italian American singers, died June 30 from heart disease at age 85. A decorated WW II veteran of the Battle of the Bulge where he earned a Bronze Star, Roselli recorded 35 albums. His biggest hits were “There Must Be A Way,” and “Mala Femmena.” Unlike Sinatra who could not even speak Italian, Roselli sang and recorded in perfect Neapolitan

FRANCESCA ZAMBELLO, the acclaimed opera director, is the new artistic advisor of the Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center in the nation’s capital. Zambello has directed for the world’s leading lyric houses as well as on Broadway with a production of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”