Gino Penno

8 December 1920 Felizzano – 8 February 1998 Milano

Picture of Gino Penno
Picture of Gino Penno

Gino Penno sings Aroldo: Sotto il sol di Siria ardente
In RA format

Gino Penno sings Il trovatore: Di quella pira
In RA format
I wish to thank Vladimir Efimenko for the pictures.
I would like to thank Thomas Silverbörg for the recording (Aroldo).
When Penno (birth name: Biagio Penno) served in the Italian army in WWII, an officer discovered his voice and recommended him to study singing, which he did after the war with Ettore Campogalliani in Mantova. He made his debut on April 4th, 1947, at La Scala, in Honegger's Jeanne d'arc au bûcher. Initially, he sang only small parts like Altoum, Roderigo or Normanno, many of them in contemporary works, always at La Scala or at La Fenice in Venice.

In 1949, he made the transition to lead roles, embarking on a career that was as splendid as short.

1949: Turiddu and Canio in Borgo S. Lorenzo, Pollione in Lugano, Ranuccio in Arcangelo by Guido Guerrini in Bologna.

1950: Pollione and Gabriele Adorno at La Fenice, Lohengrin in Reggio nell'Emilia, at the Carlo Felice in Genova, the Terme di Caracalla and the Teatro Alfieri in Torino, Siegmund at the Arena di Verona, Ernani in Trieste and for the radio in Rome, Achille in Iphigénie en Tauride and Hüon at the Maggio musicale in Florence, and at La Scala: Titzikian in Cherubini's Lodoïska, Dioneo in the world premiere of L'allegra brigata by Malipiero, Cavaradossi, Golitsyn and Bacchus.

1951: Lohengrin in Modena, Lisbon and Catania, Pollione in Catania and at the Terme di Caracalla, Gabriele Adorno in Wiesbaden, Stuttgart and Munich, Foresto at La Fenice, Arrigo (La battaglia di Legnano) at the Regio in Parma, Fernand Cortez and Carlo VII (Giovanna d'Arco) at the San Carlo in Naples, Carlo VII also at the Paris Opéra.

1952: Pollione, Sisera (Dèbora e Jaéle by Pizzetti), Macduff, and Monteverdi's mass Il vespro della Beata Vergine at La Scala; Don Carlo and Pollione at the San Carlo, Lohengrin and Gabriele Adorno in Bologna, Calaf in Naples, Radames in Bergamo, Cavaradossi at the Paris Opéra-Comique.

1953: Manrico in Florence, at the San Carlo and at La Scala, Giasone (with Callas, of course) and Grigorij at La Scala, Aroldo in Florence, Siegmund in Parma, Pollione at the Paris Opéra.

1954: Alvaro and Lohengrin at the San Carlo, Manrico in Philadelphia; Alvaro, Manrico, Radames, Pollione and Canio at the Metropolitan Opera; Alvaro, Gabriele Adorno, Manrico, Radames and Canio in Rio de Janeiro; Alvaro at the Liceu in Barcelona and in Rome.

1955: Manrico in Bordeaux and Monte Carlo, Radames at Covent Garden and in Sanremo.

1956: Grigorij at La Scala, Alvaro and Manrico at the Met. He had by then serious vocal problems, and the Met cancelled his contract.

He appeared for the last time on 30 March 1958 as Canio, in La Spezia.

The rest of his professional life, he was a bank clerk in Milano.

Reference 1: Enciclopedia Treccani; reference 2: Kutsch & Riemens


Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher – Milano, Scala, 4 April 1947
Manon (Soldato) – Milano, Scala, 13 September 1947
Le baccanti – Milano, Scala, 21 February 1948
Turandot (Altoum) – Milano, Scala, 23 March 1948
Oedipus rex (Pastore) – Milano, Scala, 24 April 1948
Salome (Nazzareno) – Milano, Scala, 7 May 1948
Lulù (Alwa) – Venezia, Fenice, 1948
Billy Budd by Ghedini (Marinaio) – Venezia, Fenice, 1948
L'incoronazione di Poppea (Un soldato, Un liberto) – Venezia, Fenice, 1948
La Gioconda (Isepo) – Milano, Scala, 1 September 1948
Louise (Prima guardia) – Milano, Scala, 19 September 1948
L'amore de tre re (Il giovanetto) – Milano, Scala, 12 October 1948
Otello (Roderigo) – Milano, Scala, 5 February 1949
Lucia di Lammermoor (Normanno) – Milano, Scala 12 March 1949
Regina Uliva (Un cavaliere, Un gueriero) – Milano, Scala, 17 March 1949
Lucia di Lammermoor (Arturo) – Milano, Scala 10 April 1949
La giara (Una voce) – Milano, Scala, 12 May 1949
L'arcangelo (Ranuccio) – Bologna, Comunale, 26 November 1949
Norma (Pollione) – Venezia, Fenice, 13 January 1950
Simon Boccanegra (Gabriele Adorno) – Venezia, Fenice, 21 January 1950
Lohengrin (Lohengrin) – Reggio nell'Emilia, Municipale, 1950
Lodoïska (Titzikian) – Milano, Scala, 18 March 1950
Tosca (Cavaradossi) – Milano, Scala, 19 March 1950
Khovanshchina (Golitsyn) – Milano, Scala, 8 April 1950
L'allegra brigata (Dioneo) – Milano, Scala, 4 May 1950
Iphigénie en Aulide (Achille) – Firenze, Giardino di Boboli, 6 May 1950
Ariadne auf Naxos (Bacchus) – Milano, Scala, 27 May 1950
Oberon (Hüon) – Firenze, Giardino di Boboli, 16 June 1950
Ernani (Ernani) – Roma, RAI, 25 June 1950
Die Walküre (Siegmund) – Verona, Arena, 18 July 1950
Giovanna d'Arco (Carlo VII) – Napoli, San Carlo, 15 March 1951
Macbeth (Macduff) – Firenze, Comunale, 11 June 1951
Attila (Foresto) – Venezia, La Fenice, 12 September 1951
La battaglia di Legnano (Arrigo) – Parma, Regio, 17 October 1951
Fernand Cortez (Cortez) – Napoli, San Carlo, 15 December 1951
Dèbora e Jaéle (Il re Sisera) – Milano, Scala, 6 May 1952
Don Carlo (Don Carlo) – Milano, Scala, 22 May 1952
Aida (Radames) – Bergamo, Donizetti, 11 October 1952
Turandot (Calaf) – Napoli, Mosta d'Oltremare, 1952
Il trovatore (Manrico) – Firenze, Comunale, 13 January 1953
Boris Godunov (Grigorij) – Milano, Scala, 30 April 1953
Aroldo (Aroldo) – Firenze, Comunale, 3 June 1953
Medea (Giasone) – Milano, Scala, 10 December 1953
La forza del destino (Don Alvaro) – Napoli, San Carlo, 16 January 1954
Pagliacci (Canio) – New York, Met, 24 March 1954
I wish to thank Tom Kaufman for having provided me with his unpublished chronology of Penno, and Andrey Rizhov for additional information.

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