Giorgio Tozzi (1923-2011)

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American bass and Broadway star dies aged 88

Giorgio Tozzi, a bass who sang with The Metropolitan Opera for two decades and appeared on Broadway, film and television, has died at the age of 88.

Born in Chicago, Tozzi began singing as a teenager and after a spell at DePaul University, Chicago, he studied in Milan.

Tozzi was an audience favourite at The Metropolitan Opera where he appeared in over 500 performances and was renowned for the warmth and richness of his voice.

Following his 1955 Met debut the New York Post commented on the ‘beautiful quality’ and ‘rich texture’ of his voice, ‘expertly handled both as to characterisation and technique.’ He would sing a total of 38 roles at The Met, ranging from Figaro in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and Don Basilio in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville to the title role in Musorgsky’s Boris Godunov and the part of the Doctor in the 1958 world premiere of Samuel Barber’s Vanessa.

In addition to his success in New York his operatic career encompassed appearances at La Scala, Milan, performances with major symphony orchestras throughout Europe and three Grammy awards.

Tozzi also appeared on Broadway and sang in both the stage and film versions of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific. In 1979 he received a Tony award nomination for his Broadway performance in Frank Loesser’s The Most Happy Fella.

An emeritus professor at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music since 1991, Tozzi also taught at the Julliard School in New York.

 

Jennifer Norton