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Ferruccio Tagliavini (1913 - 1995)

As a child Tagliavini sang in a church choir, learnt to play the violin and listened to operatic recordings; but although encouraged by his parents to study singing, he instead chose to prepare for what he saw as the more stable career of electrician. In addition he served for a year with the Italian army in Africa. Only at the age of twenty-four did he begin to pursue singing formally, when he was challenged by his father to enter a vocal competition in Parma in which he was successful, winning a scholarship to study at the Parma Conservatory but also continuing to work as an electrician. In Parma he studied singing with Italo Brancucci and in Florence with the Wagnerian tenor Amedeo Bassi. Following success in a second competition, at the 1938 Florence Maggio Musicale, he made his professional operatic debut as Rodolfo / La Bohème during the following year at the Teatro Communale, Florence.

Although the outbreak of World War II initially precluded an international career, Tagliavini quickly became famous in Italy, making some superb recordings and appearing at many of the country’s leading opera houses such as the Teatro Massimo, Palermo. Here he met his first wife, the soprano Pia Tassinari, whom he married in 1941. He also developed a career as a film star and between 1941 and 1958 appeared in several Italian comic films, often as a character unexpectedly possessing a remarkable operatic voice; in Anima e Core (1951) this individual was also an electrician.




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