(December 11, 1892–March 17, 1979)
Giacomo Lauri-Volpi was an Italian lyrico dramatic tenor with a voice of exceptional range and great technical facility.
For forty years he performed thoughout Europe and the Americas in a stellar career.
His career began after the end of World War I when he sang Arturo in Bellini’s I Puritani in Viterbo, Italy.
Four months later he sang with Ezio Pinza in Massenet's Manon but it was at La Scala Milan where he enjoyed tremendous success between the two world wars.
He was the selected tenor chosen to sing Arnoldo in La Scala’s centenary production of Rossini’s Guglielmo Tell.
Giacomo Lauri- Volpi starred at the Metropolitan Opera in New York from 1923 to 1933. He performed no less than 232 performances singing with other opera greats such as Maria Jeritza whom he sang with in the American premiere performance of Puccini’s Turandot.
In the premier of Luisa Miller he sang with Rosa Ponselle.
Regrettably his contract with the Met came to an end prematurely due to a dispute over a prospective pay cut due to the effects on the house of the Great Depression.
He returned to Italy.
Over the next few years his major appearances outside Italy included two seasons at the Royal Opera in London (1925 and 1936). He gradually expanded his repertoire from the more lyric roles to more taxing and demanding roles in the dramatic repertory.
As his voice aged it started to show signs of wear although the thrilling top notes he was famous for still seemed to remain remarkably intact and they stayed that way well into the fifties.
In Italy through the second World War, Giacomo Lauri-Volpi remained in Italy.
The dictator Benito Mussolini was just one of his many fans. His last performance on an opera stage came in 1959 when he played Manrico, in a production of Verdi’s Il Trovatore, in Rome.
After the war he retired to Spain where he lived till he died at the age of 86.
Giacomo Lauri-Volpi left a recorded legacy that leaves little doubt that he was one of the finest tenors of the 20th Century.