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Luigi Alva (b1972)

After serving as a cadet in the Peruvian navy, Luigi Alva studied singing with Rose Mercedes Ajarza de Morales in Lima. He made his début in a concert in Lima in 1949, and in the same year sang in Luisa Fernanda, a zarzuela by Federico Moreno Torroba. The conductor Anton Guadagno suggested the part of Beppe in Pagliacci for Alva’s operatic début, but in the event the rôle was Alfredo/La Traviata, in 1951 at the opera house in Lima. Alva then participated in a competition to select a tenor for the film The Great Caruso with Mario Lanza, the prize of which was a fellowship to study at the Academy of La Scala, Milan. Although unsuccessful, Alva decided to move to Italy in 1953, where he studied singing with Emilio Ghirardini and Ettore Campogalliani. In 1954 he sang Alfredo once again, in a production at the Teatro Nuovo in Milan. After the second performance the director of the Academy of La Scala, Giulio Confalonieri, told him that he was admitted to the academy, as he had originally desired. The following year he was invited to take part in the opening of the Piccola Scala, a new studio theatre adjacent to La Scala, as Paolino in a production of Cimarosa’s Il matrimonio segreto, in which he sang opposite Giulietta Simionato and Graziella Sciutti, and which was subsequently recorded by EMI. After the first night, Carlo Maria Giulini, then conducting at La Scala, asked him to sing Count Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia in the main house, with Maria Callas and Tito Gobbi. Alva’s




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