OBITUARIES:Ferruccio Tagliavini

One of the most stylish Italian singers of the post-war period, the tenor Ferruccio Tagliavini was renowned in Europe and North America for his beautiful voice and elegant singing in Donizetti and Bellini as well as Verdi and Puccini operas.

He first appeared in London in 1950, when the company from La Scala, Milan, gave a short season at Covent Garden. Employing his most honeyed tones, Tagliavini sang Nemorino in L'elisir d'amore, possibly his finest role, and was prevailed upon by torrential and prolonged applause to encore his aria "Una furtiva lagrima", which he sang with even greater effect the second time. Three years later he returned to London as guest star with an Italian company at the Stoll Theatre, this time as Cavaradossi in Tosca. He also sang Cavaradossi at Covent Garden, with Renata Tebaldi in 1955 and Zinka Milanov in 1956. In addition to the Italian repertory, he excelled in certain French roles, in particular Massenet's Werther, and Nadir in Les Pecheurs de Perles, whichhe sang (in Italian) at Drury Lane in 1958.

Tagliavini was born in Barco, near Reggio Emilia, in 1913. He studied at Parma Conservatory and with Amedeo Bassi in Florence, where he made his debut in 1938 as Rodolfo in La Boheme. The outbreak of war precluded an international career but he sang at many of the leading Italian houses, including the Teatro Massimo in Palermo, where he met the mezzo- soprano Pia Tassinari, whom he married in 1941, and with whom he subsequently often appeared. Tagliavini made his debut at La Scala in January 1942 as Count Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and continued to sing there over the next decade, as Nemorino, Elvino in La Sonnambula, the title roles of L'Amico Fritz and Werther, Des Grieux in Manon and Cavaradossi. Meanwhile, in 1946-47 he appeared at the Teatro Coln, Buenos Aires, and toured South America.

Tagliavini made his North American debut in 1946 in Chicago as Rodolfo. The following year he first sang at the Metropolitan, New York, again as Rodolfo. He returned regularly to the Met until 1954, then again in 1961-62, singing eight different roles, that included Alfredo in La Traviata, the Duke in Rigoletto, and Edgardo in Lucia di Lamermoor. At San Francisco in 1948-49 he sang Nemorino, Alfredo, Edgardo and Cavaradossi, returning in 1952 as Faust in Boito's Mefistofele. The last role he also sang at Verona in July 1954, with Maria Callas as Margherita. Later that year he appeared with Callas again, in Lucia di Lamermoor at Bergamo.

Another of Tagliavini's Verdi roles was Riccardo/Gustavus in Un Ballo in Maschera, which he sang at the Paris Opera in 1951 with the San Carlo company from Naples. This was the first time Un Ballo had been performed at the Palais Garnier; the Swedish version of the opera was used and the tenor made a vocally most elegant Gustavus III.

Tagliavini continued to sing until 1965, when he gave his farewell performance at La Fenice, Venice, as Werther. He recorded nearly all his main roles, including Mascagni's Fritz, Edgardo (with Callas as Lucia), Nadir and Werther. Though a good comedian in such parts as Almaviva and Nemorino, he acted and expressed serious emotion chiefly through his voice, by tonal colouring and meticulous phrasing, so his records give an excellent impression of a very fine singer.

Elizabeth Forbes Ferruccio Tagliavini, singer: born Barco, Reggio Emilia 14 August 1913; twice married; died Reggio Emilia 28 January 1995.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Talent Manager / HR Manager - central London - £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...

HR Manager (standalone) - London

Up to £40,000: Ashdown Group: Standalone HR Manager role for an SME business b...

HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...

Day In a Page

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution