As music publishers, Bongiovanni started life in 1905 when company founder Francesco Bongiovanni began publishing the works of Respighi, Zandonai, Alfano, Cimara and Pratella, a tradition that continues unbroken today.
Yet it was not until the 1970s that Bongiovanni Records came into existence under Francesco's grandson Giancarlo Bongiovanni, the current head of the company. Today, Bongiovanni Records is run by Giancarlo's son Andrea - the fourth generation of the family in the music business.
The Bongiovanni logo was created in 1975 to mark both the founding of Bongiovanni Records and the company's 70th anniversary. And today the logo remains unchanged: a sign of continuity with a long line of successful recordings that began in the mid-1970s and with the pioneering, early days of 1905.
From the very beginning, record buyers have seen Bongiovanni as run by friendly fellow-enthusiasts rather than indifferent businessmen. And Bongiovanni has always been proud of its long-standing active association with the movers and shakers of the opera world.
Bongiovanni's first recording was a live concert by soprano Mirella Freni which won the Italian Record Critics' Prize in 1975. Until that time, live opera recordings had been strictly unofficial affairs ignored by the majors: if they have become standard among record companies today, whether multinationals or independents, it is in no small measure due to the trailblazing work of Bongiovanni Records.
That first Bongiovanni recording was followed by many more featuring recitals by world-famous opera singers such as Renato Bruson, Marilyn Horne, Sesto Bruscantini, Martine Dupuy, Carlo Bergonzi, Piero Cappuccilli, Mariella Devia and Giuseppe Giacomini. The Bongiovanni catalogue comprises some 700 items, including rare operas by both celebrated and less familiar composers such as Donizetti, Catalani, Cimarosa, Mercadante, Pergolesi, Bizet, Mascagni and Paisiello. And now those rare operas are also available on Bongiovanni's own line of DVDs.
Bongiovanni Records means rare or unissued vocal or instrumental performances of works ignored or forgotten by opera houses or record companies. Bongiovanni Records means the rediscovery of historic recordings by the greats of opera singing. And Bongiovanni Records means recitals by world-class opera singers who never became part of the multinational record industry star system but who are prized and in demand by true opera lovers – and rightly so.