(16 October 1913 – 2 February 1993)
Gino Bechi was an Italian baritone.
He was particularly associated with the Italian repertory, especially the great Verdi roles. Indeed it is said that Gino Bechi was one of the greatest baritones of the 20th century.
He made his debut at Empoli in 1936 singing Germont in La Traviata - which is ironic because it was also his last role that was committed to film three years after his retirement from the stage when he sang Germont in the acclaimed Anna Moffo film of 1968.
He predominantly sang widely throughout Italy appearing frequently at the Rome Opera from 1938 to 1952 and at La Scala from 1939 to 1953. He famously sang the title role in Nabucco for the reopening of La Scala after the War in 1946.
It was not long before he was established as the leading dramatic baritone of his time singing roles such as Rigoletto, Count de Luna, Renato, Carlo, Amonasro, Alfio, Gérard and he was a particularly admired Figaro and Hamlet.
Gino Bechi rarely sang outside Italy but he did appear in England and North and South America in the late 1950s for a short time, but by then it was considered he was past his best.
In his prime he was a gifted artist with a dark, incisive voice and great acting abilities.
He can still be heard in a number of early recordings with Beniamino Gigli in Un Ballo in Maschera, Aida, Andrea Chénier, and a Cavalleria Rusticana which was conducted by the composer Pietro Mascagni himself.
He also recorded Il Barbiere di Siviglia and there is a pirate recording of Nabucco in existence with Maria Callas recorded in 1949.
Gino Bechi retired from the stage in 1965 but sang Germont in the acclaimed movie of La Traviata, with Anna Moffo and Franco Bonisolli in 1968. The movie was directed by Anna Moffo's husband at the time- Mario Lanfranchi. Bechi taught for some years and died in Florence in 1993.