"To sing you need the strong body of an athlete.”
Heard Corelli do his Farewell recital at Symphony Hall in Newark, as well as his TOSCA at The Met several times. His recital was deeply moving as well.
During these past two weeks, I have been as obsessed with Olympic sports as I have always been with music. Just as I was sure that the G.O.A.T. among tenors was still Enrico Caruso or possibly Luciano Pavarotti, along came Franco Corelli, "the Prince of Tenors", to knock them both out of contention. I am well on my way to becoming a Corelli devotee, which means I plan to listen to and watch his videos with great interest.
I found two visual biographies on YouTube which had beautiful images of Corelli, his family members, and the Marches area of Italy where he was reared. There were distracting editing errors, and I have no idea about the accuracy of the information posted. The same may also be true of Wikipedia -my "go-to" for biographical data on the artists to whom I've been introduced in the Listening Club (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franco_Corelli). I will nevertheless go out on a limb, and post two links for anyone who wants to see images from his fascinating early life and career:
Franco Corelli: A FAN'S BIOGRAPHY (Part 1) https://youtu.be/qtDmKGJsoZg
Franco Corelli: A FAN'S BIOGRAPHY (Part 2) https://youtu.be/OjvdQdM6_Fc
There are plenty of other options for a deep dive into the life and music of Franco Corelli (see: https://www.francocorelli.nl/), including master classes (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzpxMzJfsVQ&t=358s; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqXWmhaudhw). I hope to read a well-researched biography and other articles about his lasting impact.
This may not have been his greatest role, but I was surprised to learn that Franco Corelli starred as a cowboy in the 1966 Metropolitan Opera production of Giacomo Puccini's "La Fanciulla del West" ("Ch'ella mi creda" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGki6hAcXFQ). If I hadn't read it myself, and had I not heard Corelli's duet with Dorothy Kirsten from Act 1 of the same (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABn-sLVAr-0; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Kirsten; https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0457025/), I might not have believed that the same Giacomo Puccini who composed "Madama Butterfly" also wrote an opera inspired by the "spaghetti westerns", inspired by the stories of our American West.
Despite my continued enthusiasm for opera, I plan to remain a captive of athletic heroism for just a little while longer. Once the Tokyo Olympics are over, it's back to my new Italian idol, Franco Corelli, and to making my way through Opera Daily's excellent playlist of opera's greatest hits.