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Giuseppe Taddei (1916 - 2010)

While still at school Taddei sang on church steps to raise money for his classmates, studied singing with Giuseppina Lusso and sang solo items at school presentations. In 1932, aged only sixteen, he appeared at the Teatro Carlo Felice, Genoa, in Pallastrelli’s opera Il gatto stivalato as Don Basilio Perdifiato; and three years later won a vocal competition organised by the Teatro Reale, Rome. Here he made his formal operatic debut on Boxing Day 1936 as the Herald / Lohengrin, conducted by Tullio Serafin (who was to be an important mentor) alongside another baritone Tito Gobbi, at whose wedding he sang in 1937.

During World War II Taddei continued to sing in Genoa, Naples and Rome (the first performance in 1941 of Malipiero’s opera Ecuba) before being conscripted into the Italian army in 1942. Later he was interned by the Germans in a prisoner of war camp where his singing proved to be a positive asset. Following the liberation of Vienna by the Americans and Russians he made himself known to the occupying forces and began to sing in the city frequently, making his debut at the Vienna State Opera during May 1946 in the title role of Rigoletto.




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