Opera Scotland

Gianni Raimondi Suggest updates

Born Bologna, 17 April, 1923.

Died Pianoro, Bologna, 19 October, 2008.

Italian tenor.

Gianni Raimondi studied in Bologna under Antonio Melandri and Gennaro Barra-Caracciolo, then in Mantua with Ettore Campogalliani.   He had an extensive career as a lyric tenor at ease in higher registers, particularly in operas by  Rossini,  Donizetti,  Verdi and  Puccini.  He was greatly admired at La Scala and at the Vienna State Opera.

His debut in 1947 was as Pinkerton at Budrio, a small local town, and the following year Raimondi appeared at Bologna itself, as Ernesto.  In 1952 he appeared at Florence in a rare revival of Rossini's Armida, with Maria Callas.

At La Scala, Milan in 1956 Raimondi sang Alfredo in the famous staging of La traviata by Luchino Visconti with Callas as Violetta.   In 1957 the trio were reunited for an  important revival of Donizetti's Anna Bolena.   In 1962 he sang in Rossini's Semiramide with Joan Sutherland.

He appeared regularly in Vienna from 1957 over the next twenty years.   His roles there included Verdi (Duke of Mantua, Alfredo, Riccardo) and Puccini (Cavaradossi,  Pinkerton).   Perhaps a particularly notable occasion was the 1963 production of La bohème, with Mirella Freni, directed by Franco Zeffirelli and conducted by Herbert von Karajan.

Raimondi also sang across the Atlantic, appearing at San Francisco in the 1957-8 season and in Buenos Aires in 1959.   His debut at the New York Met was in 1965, as Rodolfo, again with Freni as Mimì.   Later at the Met he sang  Donizetti (Edgardo);  Gounod (Faust)  and more Puccini (Cavaradossi,  Pinkerton).

Later in his career he took on some heavier roles including by  Rossini (Arnold William Tell);  Donizetti (Gennaro Lucrezia Borgia,  Fernando La favorita);  Bellini (Pollione Norma) and Verdi (Carlo I masnadieri,   Arrigo I Vespri Siciliani and  Gabriele Simon Boccanegra).


In the UK his only visit was in 1953, when Raimondi was a member of a touring Italian company.  It started with a season in London, at the Stoll Theatre, before embarking on an extensive circuit of the country.


Raimondi's studio recordings include La traviata made at La Scala in 1962 with Renata Scotto and Ettore Bastianini,  conducted by Antonino Votto.   There are also a few live recordings which have been made available, including ArmidaAnna Bolena and La traviata,  all with Callas.

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