The son of a New York delicatessen owner, Sergi was lead tenor at the Frankfurt Opera House and at Covent Garden, as well as a cantor
for several congregations in Texas, where he retired as a professor of voice at Austin. He took his name from Sergio Nazor,
the Italian maestro who was his first serious opera teacher.
Sergi was born Arthur Kagan.
He attended George Washington High School, and enrolled at Alfred University with the intention of becoming
a veterinarian before being drafted into the Army. Sergi was attached to Special Services, and spent three
years entertaining troops in Asia. He made his concert debut as a soloist with the Nippon Philharmonic in a
Christmas performance of Händel's "Messiah".
Sergi attended the Manhattan School of Music on the GI Bill, and then went to Rome to study with Nazor and other bel canto
specialists. His debut role was as the lead in Verdi's "Otello" at Wuppertal in Germany, in 1954.
Soon he was taking leading roles at opera houses in Barcelona, Bologna, and Cologne, as well as at La Scala. He was the lead tenor
at Wuppertal, Hamburg, and Frankfurt, where he met his future wife when he revived her after she fainted during an audition.
Sergi made his Met debut as Grigorij in "Boris Godunov" in 1963. He also took leading roles in "Aida", "Die Fledermaus" and "Otello".
A New York Times reviewer wrote that in the title role of "Lohengrin" in 1964, Sergi "sang commandingly, but with a sensitive kind
of appeal that heightened the human situation of the opera greatly".
Sergi retired from the stage to teach at the University of Texas in 1970.
In 1990 he formed the International East West Music Academy in Altenberg, Germany.
He continued to appear in opera productions. In 1995 he appeared for the last time at the Met in Kurt Weill's "Mahagonny".
At age 79, he sang the lead in "The mikado" in a production in Wichita, Kan., and also sang before an audience
of 600 at Bologna. His final performance was at a gala 80th birthday celebration in his hometown of San Marcos, Texas.
He was killed when his car ran off a highway near Austin.
Reference: NY Sun