Saturday, January 8, 2011

Happy Birthday: Giorgio Tozzi

Bass Giorgio Tozzi was born on January 8, 1923, in Chicago, Illinois. When he enrolled at DePaul University he intended to study biology, but decided on music and studied voice with Rosa Raisa, Giacomo Rimini and John Daggett Howell. He made his professional debut as Tarquinius in the 1948 Broadway production of Britten's The Rape of Lucretia. His signature roles included Mozart's Figaro, Phillip II, Hans Sachs, Pogner, and Gounod's Mephistopheles, among others. In 1957 he portrayed
Tozzi as Ramfis in Aida
the title role in a nationally broadcast performance of Modest Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov with the NBC Opera Theatre. In 1958 he created the role of The Doctor in Samuel Barber's Vanessa. Tozzi was the recipient of three Grammy Awards: Best Classical Performance - Operatic or Choral for Le Nozze di Figaro with Erich Leinsdorf (1960), Best Opera Recording for Puccini's Turandot with Erich Leinsdorf (1961) and Best Opera Recording for Georg Solti's recording of Verdi's Aida featuring Leontyne Price and Jon Vickers (1963). 
Drawing by Herschel Levit
Tozzi was also the bass part in the famous recording of Sir Thomas Beecham's version of George Frederic Handel's Messiah for RCA in 1959. He also appears in other full-opera recordings such as La Bohème, Rigoletto, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Il Trovatore and Lucia di Lammermoor. He is also on the Fritz Reiner recording of Verdi's Requiem for Decca. For the London based label he also recorded La Fanciulla del West, Der Fliegende Holländer, La Forza del Destino, Il Trovatore and more.
After dubbing in the singing parts for the character of Emile de Becque (acted by Rossano Brazzi) in the 1958 film version of South Pacific, Tozzi spent many years playing the role of de Becque himself in various revivals and road tours of the show, including one at Lincoln Center in the late 1960s. 
In 1980, he earned a Tony award nomination for best leading actor in a musical for his work as Tony in The Most Happy Fella.

Tozzi worked extensively as an educator in professorships at Juilliard, Brigham Young University and Indiana University. In 2006 he retired as Distinguished Professor of Voice at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana. He also published a novel in 1992, The Golem of the Golden West. [Source]

1 comment:

  1. Giorgio passed away of a hear attack today, May 30, 2011.