(24 October 1913 – 5 March 1984)
Tito Gobbi was an Italian operatic baritone with an international reputation. Among his colleagues, Gobbi was always regarded as something of an Aristocrat in the world of opera.
His career blossomed in America in the years following the second World War.
Gobbi famously sang the role of Scarpia in the 1964 Franco Zeffirelli production of Puccini's Tosca at Covent Garden, with Maria Callas. Act II of the production was filmed and shown on British television.
Although in his time he was considered the best Scarpia alive he was also a much acclaimed Rigoletto - many claimed there was none finer - and in roles like Nabucco, he never failed to win accolades.
Gobbi and Callas had previously sung Tosca together in a classic 1953 EMI recording of the opera made in Milan, with Giuseppe Di Stefano as Cavaradossi and Victor de Sabata conducting.
That 1953 album was re-issued on long-playing gramophone record and, later, on CD. It is considered by many to be the finest recording of a complete opera ever made.
It went out of print only once, after Callas recorded the role again in stereo in 1964; but the 1953 mono version was soon re-released and is the one that remains readily available to this day.
Gobbi was a close friend and admirer of Callas, and was interviewed several times about their various stage collaborations.
He was a genial man, popular among his colleagues and he had a presence and style about him on stage that made Scarpia a much more menacing villian than that so often played by lesser talents.
He was even more frightening- not because he was unattractive, but because he was!
Tito Gobbi is one of the featured stars on our "Legends" product range.