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Renato Bruson (1936 - 1981)

Renato Bruson was born into a family of agrarian workers who, unable to help him financially with singing lessons, nonetheless encouraged his membership of the local parish choir. After completing his formal schooling he applied to enter the Padua Conservatory where he was offered a five-year scholarship but received little further support from his family. As he later recalled: ‘They thought that I only wanted to study music because I had no desire to work. At that time, the general feeling where I lived was that if someone worked, they had a future, whereas those who studied, especially if they studied music, were considered failures who would never find their path in life.’ Bruson was however strongly supported at the Conservatory, where he studied with Elena Fava Cerati, who trained him thoroughly in bel canto style and technique. He made his operatic stage début in 1961 at Spoleto as di Luna/Il trovatore, and sang Riccardo/I puritani at Rome during the following year.

Initially Bruson’s career developed slowly. At an audition at La Scala, Milan in 1963, one of the assessors said: ‘Bruson, you sing very well but you have no personality!’ He repeated di Luna in Holland during 1964, and then enjoyed great success partnering the tenor Franco Corelli at Parma in 1967. Bruson appeared at the Metropolitan Opera for the first time in 1969 as Enrico/Lucia di Lammermoor and as di Luna, but was not to return until twelve years later.




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