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Bergonzi, Carlo

Bergonzi, Carlo, 1924–2014, Italian opera singer. He began his career as a baritone, debuting in 1948, but he made a second debut as a tenor in 1951 after realizing his voice was better suited to the higher range, and soon after first sang at Milan's La Scala. He debuted in the United States in 1955 in Chicago and first appeared at the Metropolitan Opera in 1956 as Radames in Verdi's Aïda. He performed more than 300 times at the Met through the 1980s. One of his most memorable performances was there in 1964 as a soloist in Verdi's Requiem, a memorial for President John F. Kennedy. With his supple lyric tenor voice, Bergonzi came to be considered his era's finest Verdi tenor, and he excelled in numerous 19th-century Italian and French operas.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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