Mirto Picchi


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Giulia Tess (1889—1976)


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(b San Mauro a Signa, nr Florence, 15 March 1915; d Florence, 25 Sept 1980). Italian tenor. He studied in Florence with Giuseppe Armani and Giulia Tess. He made his début as Radames in the season organized by La Scala at the Milan Palazzo del Sport in 1946. At first he sang Verdi and Puccini roles in Italy and abroad, appearing at the Cambridge Theatre, London (1947–8), as the Duke of Mantua, Rodolfo and Cavaradossi, and at the 1949 Edinburgh Festival as Riccardo in Un ballo in maschera. In 1952 he sang Pollione at Covent Garden at Callas's London début as Norma. From the early 1950s he specialized in contemporary music, creating roles in Juan José Castro's Proserpina y el extranjero (1952, La Scala), Ildebrando Pizzetti's Cagliostro (1953, La Scala) and La figlia di Iorio (1954, Naples), and Flavio Testi's La celestina (1963, Florence), and took part in the Italian première of War and Peace (1953, Florence). He scored notable successes as Peter Grimes and as Captain Vere (Billy Budd), and his large repertory included the Drum Major (Wozzeck), Tom Rakewell, Tiresias (The Bassarids) and Igor Stravinsky's Oedipus. His last appearance was as W. A. Mozart's Don Basilio at La Scala in 1974. Picchi's recordings of Riccardo (Edinburgh), Don Carlos (1951), Pollione (1952) and Jason to Callas's Medea at La Scala (1957) disclose his virtues as a singer of style and subtle artistry seldom found among Italian tenors, compensating for a voice somewhat lacking in native warmth.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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