When Rolando Sartori was sitting, playing his guitar and singing at restaurants such as Arturo’s in Floral Park or Il Bacco in Little Neck, he wouldn’t stay seated for long.
“He would walk from table to table and ask what song the people wanted to hear,” said his daughter, Tara Harris, of Seaford. “And he would ask what language they wanted him to sing it in.”
Sartori, who was born in Rome, could sing in Italian, English, French and Spanish, all of which he spoke fluently. He could perform in 14 languages, according to daughter Diana Sartori Deutsch of Wantagh.
“His goal was always when someone came that he would make them happy,” Deutsch said. “He could sing in Chinese. He just learned it. He would always learn new music, and then with foreign languages he would sit there and listen and write down the songs and pronunciations.”
Sartori, a former resident of Bellerose and later Floral Park, died on April 4 from complications due to COVID-19, according to his family. He was living in assisted living at Maple Pointe at Rockville Centre at the time of his death. He was 84.
Sartori sang for nearly 25 years on Home Lines Cruises. He was discovered while performing in a nightclub in Rome, according to Deutsch, but was reluctant at first.
“The cruise director used to always ask him to sing on the ship,” she said. “He was always like, ‘No, no, my family’s here.’ One night, their singer got sick, so they asked him to come for the week. He said, ‘Sure, I’ll come.’ And that was it. He stayed for about 25 years and then he moved here.”
Sartori is also survived by his son, Roland, of New Rochelle; his sister, Valeria, of Rome, and five granddaughters.
Sartori was cremated and a memorial service was performed on Zoom. Deutsch said the family plans to have an in-person service — likely at an Italian restaurant, since Sartori was also a talented chef — once it is possible. She also said she plans to spread his ashes in Italy and Bermuda, the latter of which was one of his favorite cruise destinations.