Broadway Veteran Giorgio Tozzi Passes Away at 88


According to published reports, opera star and musical theatre veteran Giorgio Tozzi passed away on Monday, May 30. He was 88 years old.

Tozzi studied at DePaul University with Rosa Raisa, Giacomo Rimini and John Daggett Howell. He made his professional debut in 1948 in the Broadway production of Britten's The Rape of Lucretia as Tarquinius. His signature roles included Figaro in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, Phillip II in Verdi's Don Carlo, Hans Sachs in Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and Méphistophélès in Gounod's Faust.

In 1957 he portrayed the title role in a nationally broadcast performance of Modest Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov with the NBC Opera Theatre. In 1958 he created the role of The Doctor in Samuel Barber's Vanessa.

Tozzi was the recipient of three Grammy's: in 1960 the Grammy Award for Best Classical Performance, Operatic or Choral for The Marriage of Figaro with Erich Leinsdorf; in 1961 the Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording for Puccini's Turandot, with Erich Leinsdorf; and in 1963 the Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording for Georg Solti's recording of Verdi's Aida (with Leontyne Price and Jon Vickers). Tozzi also sang the bass part in the recording of Sir Thomas Beecham's version of George Frederic Handel's Messiah for RCA in 1959.

After dubbing the singing parts for the character of Emile de Becque (acted by Rossano Brazzi) in the 1958 film version of South Pacific, Tozzi spent many years playing the role of de Becque himself in various revivals and road tours of the show, including one at Lincoln Center in the late 1960s.
In 1980, Tozzi earned a Tony award nomination for best leading actor in a musical for his work as Tony in The Most Happy Fella.

Tozzi was a professor at Juilliard, Brigham Young University, and Indiana University. In 2006 he retired as Distinguished Professor of Voice at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music.
Tozzi published a novel in 1997, The Golem of the Golden West

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