Gino Bechi


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Titta Ruffo (1877—1953)


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(b Florence, 16 Oct 1913; d Florence, 2 Feb 1993). Italian baritone. He studied in Florence with Raul Frazzi and Di Giorgi and made his début at Empoli in 1936 as Germont. He sang regularly in Rome (1938–52), and at La Scala (1939–53), where he sang the title role of Nabucco at the reopening of the theatre in 1946. He established himself as the leading Italian dramatic baritone of the day, especially in the Verdi repertory; his roles also included Gérard, Scarpia, Jack Rance, Tonio and Ambroise Thomas’ Hamlet. In London he appeared with the Scala company at Covent Garden in 1950 as Iago and Falstaff, and at Drury Lane as William Tell in 1958. He sang in the premières of Lodovico Rocca's Monte Ivnor (1939, Rome) and Franco Alfano's Don Juan de Manara (1941, Florence). Bechi continued to sing until 1961, when he appeared as Antonio Salie's Falstaff at Siena and in Il barbiere di Siviglia at Adria. His recordings reveal a powerful, dramatic voice of striking individuality, incisive in both tone and diction, and a ‘growl’ reminiscent of Titta Ruffo.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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