Saturday, July 26, 2014
The great Italian tenor Carlo Bergonzi has died, age 90. You can make a case that he was the greatest of postwar Italian tenors, for the elegance of his line, the beautiful sound, and the scrupulous musicianship. He wasn't the loudest (probably Del Monaco) or the flashiest (Corelli, I guess), but he was a great Verdian and superb in Puccini and bel canto.
He hardly sang in SF, appearing only in an otherwise undistinguished Forza in 1969, in a better-cast Ballo in 1985 (with Neblett and Cossotto), and in a 1986 recital. He sang more than 300 performances at the Met, which was admittedly about 2500 miles closer to home than SFO. He had a very great career worldwide.
I only heard him live once, from an unusual vantage point: I was in the unidiomatic college-student chorus that participated in a concert performance of Il Corsaro at Town Hall in 1982. He was 58 but the sound remained very beautiful.
Parterre Box has a tribute to him posted.
RIP, Carlo Bergonzi.