Benvenuto Franci


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(b Pienza, Siena, 1 July 1891; d Rome, 27 Feb 1985). Italian baritone. He studied in Rome at the S Cecilia Conservatory with Cotogni and Enrico Rosati, and made his début there in 1918 at the Teatro Costanzi in Pietro Mascagni's Lodoletta. In 1919 he appeared at the S Carlo, as Renato, then at leading Italian theatres, including La Scala (1923–36) and the Rome Opera (1928–49). He created roles in operas by Umberto Giordano, including Neri in La cena delle beffe (1924, Milan), Riccardo Zandonai and Arrigo Boito, including Fanuèl in Nerone (1924, Milan); his German roles included Hans Sachs and Barak. He also sang in Madrid, Barcelona, Buenos Aires and at Covent Garden (1925, 1931 and 1946). He retired in 1953. He had a large and penetrating voice, especially in the middle register, and was remarkable for his vehement singing in many dramatic Verdi roles, particularly Count di Luna, Rigoletto, Don Carlo (La forza del destino) and Amonasro, as well as Barnaba in La Gioconda, Gérard in Andrea Chénier and Scarpia, as can be heard in his recordings of arias from most of his roles.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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