Italian tenor Carlo Bergonzi was 90 years old when he died this past week. He had a long and illustrious career. His made his debut at La Scala in 1953 and at the Met 3 years later. Thereafter, he was a regular at the Met for 30 years. He was not the most exciting tenor of his generation. But he was widely admired for his beautiful tone and good taste.
Like too many artists Bergonzi didn’t know when to quit and left a major blemish on his career. In 2000 he attempted to sing the leading role in Verdi’s Otello in a concert performance in New York. Unfortunately, the 76-year-old tenor had to throw in the towel at the end of the second act and an understudy finished the performance.
But there are plenty of recordings that preserve the sound of Carlo Bergonzi in his prime. In our video from 1970 Bergonzi sings the aria “Una furtive lagrima” from Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’amore.
Paul E. Robinson