Obituary: tenor Carlo Bergonzi, 90

Posted on: July 29, 2014

“The Italian opera singer Carlo Bergonzi, known as the leading Verdi stylist of his generation, died in Milan on Friday,” writes Brian Wise on Sunday (7/27) at WQXR’s blog. “Bergonzi, who turned 90 on July 14, was known for using a large and velvety voice with remarkable taste and discretion…. After an early stint as a baritone, Bergonzi made his debut as a tenor at Milan’s La Scala in 1953. He debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in 1956 and went on to sing there more than 300 times, opposite celebrated divas like Risë Stevens, Maria Callas and Leontyne Price. He excelled in Verdi but he also was acclaimed as Nemorino (L’elisir d’amore), Rodolfo (La Boheme) and Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly)…. In a 1988 review of Verdi’s Luisa Miller from the Met, Associated Press critic Mary Campbell wrote that Bergonzi … ‘doesn’t add romantic mannerisms or widen his notes lushly, but his tone is so beautiful that his voice sounds romantic.’ Bergonzi preserved his voice well and continued to sing into the 1990s…. After his retirement from opera, Bergonzi continued to work as a teacher. He also ran a Verdi singing competition and managed a hotel near his home in Busseto, Italy. He is survived by his wife, Adele.”

Posted July 29, 2014