Konstantinos Liontas

Konstantinos Liontas (or Liondas, reflecting the Greek pronunciation) was born in Kozani 1903 and died in 1985 – either in Greece or in Vienna, depending on sources. In 1929, he came to Hungary on a scholarship to study land surveying in Budapest, where however he soon switched to his true love, music. He spent almost his entire career in Budapest, first at the Municipal, then at the State Opera, where he was a lead tenor until 1950, with few guest appearances at the Vienna Staatsoper. He sang both lyrical and spinto roles, and had an excellent reputation in Budapest. His best roles were Duca, Radames and Calaf. He sang all his roles in Italian, and when he encored "La donna è mobile" in Hungarian, he brought the house down.

Besides his work at the Budapest State Opera, he was also a translator at the Greek embassy, and a lecturer for modern Greek language at the catholic Péter Pázmány University. In 1950, he returned to Greece and continued singing until 1954 (for instance Canio in Athens), then he taught voice in Thessaloniki. Among his students were soprano Aleka Drakopoulou and tenor Michael Theodore.

After the Soviets had crushed the democratic 1956 revolution in Hungary, Liontas went back to Budapest as cultural attaché at the Greek embassy; after all, he spoke perfect Hungarian and knew the country intimately. After his diplomatic career, he retired to Greece.

There are no commercial recordings of his voice, and none at all except the below mentioned, made well past his prime and yet utterly impressive:
1) Nessun dorma (Turandot)
2) A te, o cara (Puritani)
3) E lucevan le stelle (Tosca)
4) Vesti la giubba (Pagliacci)

Reference 1 and picture source; reference 2: an earlier Liontas biography written for this website by Nicholas Peppas and Juan Dzazópulos; reference 3: Kutsch & Riemens

Konstantinos Liontas sings Turandot: Nessun dorma
In RA format

Konstantinos Liontas sings I puritani: A te, o cara
In RA format
I wish to thank Stathis Arfanis and Alkis Magdalinos for the recordings.

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