(b Cairo, 6 Nov 1923; d Milan, 30 June 1998). Italian baritone. Trained in Lausanne and Milan, he was first heard as a prizewinner on Italian radio. His stage début was in Aida at Reggio nell’Emilia (1949), and he appeared in the first of many seasons at La Scala in 1950 and at the Metropolitan Opera in La traviata (1951). He later became most closely associated with such comic parts as Bartolo, Gianni Schicchi, and Melitone (La forza del destino), in which he made his Covent Garden début (1962). In 1977 he sang a highly acclaimed Falstaff at Glyndebourne. His repertory was extensive, and his career lasted into old age. Widely appreciated as a singer of unusual intelligence, clever timing and clear enunciation, he took part in many premières, including operas by Riccardo Malipiero and Girogio Ghedini, and in the first performances in Italy of Sergey Prokofiev's War and Peace (1953, Florence) and Dmitry Shostakovich's The Nose (1964, Florence). His career continued energetically; 1986 brought his first Sharpless (Philadelphia), 1987 his début in Montreal, and 1988 the role of the Mastro di Cappella in the première of Sylvano Bussotti's L’ispirazione (Florence). He taught in many opera studios in Europe and the USA, where his productions included Don Giovanni (1987, Milwaukee), and he produced his own television shows. Many of his best roles, such as Dulcamara, Bartolo and Melitone, are recorded, but he was an artist who needed to be seen, being one of the best singing actors of his time.
From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.