Giorgio Tozzi, Tony-Nominated Opera Star, Dies at 88

Obituaries   Giorgio Tozzi, Tony-Nominated Opera Star, Dies at 88
Giorgio Tozzi, an operatic bass who occasionally made forays into the theatre, including a Tony Award-nominated turn in The Most Happy Fella, died May 30. He was 88.

Mr. Tozzi, who was born in Chicago on Jan. 8, 1923, made his professional debut in 1948 in the Broadway production of Britten's The Rape of Lucretia as Tarquinius. Three decades later he played Tony, the big-hearted vintner, in a Jack O'Brien-directed revival Frank Loesser's quasi-operatic musical The Most Happy Fella.

He also had a history with the role of Emile de Becque in South Pacific, another vocally demanding musical part that is traditionally filled by actors with an opera background. He dubbed the singing parts for Emile (acted by Rossano Brazzi) in the 1958 film version of South Pacific. Thereafter, he essayed the role in many revivals and tours of the show, including one at Lincoln Center in the late 1960s.

On the operatic stage, 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. He created the role of The Doctor in Barber's Vanessa for its world premiere at the Metropolitan Opera in 1958.

In the early 1960s, he won three Grammy Awards in quick succession: in 1960 for The Marriage of Figaro; in 1961 for Puccini's Turandot; and in 1963 for Georg Solti's recording of Verdi's Aida.

Mr. 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.

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