Ferruccio Tagliavini

14 August 1913 Villa Cavazzoli – 29 January 1995 Reggio Emilia

Picture of Ferruccio Tagliavini as Edgardo
Ferruccio Tagliavini as Edgardo

Picture of Ferruccio Tagliavini

Ferruccio Tagliavini sings Fedora: La fante mi svela ... Vedi, io piango, with Pia Tassinari

Ferruccio Tagliavini sings Nostalgia de amores (Vargas)
In RA format

Vittorio Pandano sings Tosca: O galantuomo, come andò la caccia?, with Giangiacomo Guelfi and Ferruccio Tagliavini
In RA format

Ferruccio Tagliavini showed musical leanings already as a child: he played the violin, and his singing in the church choir of Barco, where he grew up, earned him the nickname "Little Caruso". (Later in life, there was not even a little Caruso in his throat, rather a little Gigli and a little Schipa, fighting for supremacy over Tagliavini's considerable imitating skills.)

Ferruccio started to work as an electrician, but his father convinced him to also study voice at the conservatories of Reggio Emilia and Parma. Those studies gradually gained the upper hand on electricity, but were interrupted by one year in the Italian war on Ethiopia, for which Tagliavini had volunteered; his debut as Rodolfo took place in Florence on 27 October 1938. The same year, he also made his radio debut. He sang in Venice, Rome, Palermo, a lot in Florence, and in April 1941 already at the Berlin Staatsoper (as Fenton). On 29 January 1942, he was at La Scala for the first time (as Almaviva), in 1943 in Amsterdam. In 1942, he shot his first of several films.

After World War II was over, he went to America for a long tour from May 1946 to March 1948: Brasil, Argentina, Mexico, United States. In the course of that long tour, he made his debuts at the Colón in Buenos Aires (1946), in Chicago (1946), in San Francisco (1948), and on 10 February 1947, at the Met (as Rodolfo); he sang at that theater frequently until 1952, and occasionally until 1962.

In the 1950s, his career peaked; he sang also at the Paris Opéra and at Covent Garden, in Japan, in Australia, Vienna, Stuttgart, Antwerp or Brussels. By singing heavier roles like Riccardo, Boito's Faust, or Cavaradossi, he started damaging his purely lyrical voice. From 1965, his career slowed down considerably. He sang his last stage performance in 1970, his last concert as late as 1984.

Reference 1: Treccani, Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, vol 94, Roma 2019; reference 2: Kutsch & Riemens; reference 3; reference 4

I would like to thank Thomas Silverbörg for the recordings (Nostalgia de amores, Fedora) and picture (top).
I would like to thank Paolo Cavassini for the recording (Tosca).

La bohème – Bologna, March 1938
Il campiello – Venezia, Fenice, 8 February 2939
Rigoletto – Torino, della Moda, 20 May 1939
L'amico Fritz – Firenze, Comunale, 24 October 1939
I quattro rusteghi – Trieste, Verdi, 8 March 1940
Semiramide – Firenze, Comunale, 28 April 1940
Die Zauberflöte – Firenze, Pergola, 30 April 1940
Falstaff – Torino, EIAR, 23 June 1940
Il trionfo dell'onore – Siena, dei Rozzi, 18 September 1940
La sonnambula – Genova, Carlo Felice, 2 February 1941
L'arlesiana – Roma, dell'Opera, 13 February 1941
La locandiera – Roma, dell'Opera, 17 March 1941
Armida – Firenze, Comunale, 14 May 1941
Il barbiere di Siviglia – Roma, EIAR, 16 December 1941
La buona figliola – Roma, dell'Opera, 20 January 1942
L'elisir d'amore – Milano, Scala, 14 April 1942
Werther – Firenze, Comunale, 10 October 1942
Manon – Venezia, Fenice, 19 March 1943
Don Pasquale – Roma, dell'Opera, 30 December 1943
Faust – Roma, dell'Opera, 25 March 1944
Madama Butterfly – Roma, dell'Opera, 20 May 1944
Tosca – Roma, Quirino, 25 July 1944
Lucia di Lammermoor – Roma, dell'Opera, 8 October 1944
I pescatori di perle – Roma, RAI, 13 January 1945
La traviata – New York, Met, 14 February 1947
Chopin – Rio de Janeiro, Municipal, 13 September 1949
Adriana Lecouvreur – Rio de Janeiro, Municipal, 28 July 1950
Don Giovanni – New York, Met, 30 November 1950
Un ballo in maschera – Paris, Opéra, 1 July 1951
Mefistofele – Milano, Scala, 12 April 1952
Fedora – Milano, RAI, 10 July 1954
Lodoletta – RAI, 21? December 1957
La guerra/Le campane (both by Rossellini, first staged performance of Le campane) – Cairo, 27 February 1961
Reference: Franco Costi: Ferruccio Tagliavini, Gianni Bizzocchi Editore, 2004
The Record Collector, volume 29, December 1984 (very poor research job)
Umberto Bonafini: Ferruccio Tagliavini, l'uomo, la voce, Magis Editori, 1993
Ciro Tedeschi: Ferruccio Tagliavini: Il signore del canto, Edizioni XX Secolo S.A., Roma, 1942
A cura di Giorgio Gualerzi: Ferruccio Tagliavini: Un ragazzo che voleva vivere così, Cassa di Risparmio, Reggio Emilia, 1988
I would like to thanks Juan Dzazópulos for several corrections and addenda.

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