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Bergonzi, Carlo

debut role tenor farewell

Bergonzi, Carlo, eminent Italian tenor; b. Polisene, near Parma, July 13, 1924. He studied with Grandini in Parma, where he also took courses at the Boito Cons. During World War II, he was imprisoned for his fervent anti-Fascist stance. After his liberation, he made his operatic debut in the baritone role of Rossini’s Figaro in Lecce in 1948. In 1951 he made his debut as a tenor singing Andrea Chénier in Bari. He made his first appearance at Milan’s La Scala in 1953 creating the title role in Napoli’s Masaniello , and that same year he made his London debut as Alvaro at the Stoll Theatre. In 1962 he returned to London to make his Covent Garden debut in the same role. In 1955 he made his U.S. debut as Luigi in II Tabarro at the Chicago Lyric Opera. On Nov. 13, 1956, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y. as Radames, remaining on its roster until 1972, and again for the 1974–75, 1976–77, and 1978–83 seasons. He gave his farewell N.Y. concert at Carnegie Hall on April 17, 1994; he then bade farewell to Europe that same year in a series of concerts. He was blessed with a voice of remarkable beauty and expressivity. Among his many outstanding roles were Pollione, Rodolfo, Alfredo, Canio, Manrico, Nemorino, and Cavaradossi.

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