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Franco Corelli: The Prince of Tenors

Franco Corelli in the role of Romeo
Franco Corelli was an Italian opera tenor. His wide range of repertoire and fascinating voice made him one of the best. His huge voice also played a role in his career. He was particularly identified with a spinto or dramatic tenor roles, (like Mario from Puccini's Tosca or Manrico from Verdi's Il Trovatore). Read an interview with Franco Corelli and Stefan Zucker here.

Franco Corelli was born on April 8, 1921 and passed away on October 29, 2003. Franco was given the nickname "Prince of Tenors". Franco also had handsome facial features and a charismatic stage presence which connected him with the audience. 

Franco Corelli's real name was Dario Franco Corelli. He was born in Ancona into a family with no musical background at all. While Franco's, (Dario's), parents were not the most musical people, his paternal grandfather Augusto had quit his job at 35 to establish a career as an operatic tenor. Franco's father was a shipbuilder for the Italian navy and the family lived by the Adriatic Sea. Franco adored the sea and at first decided to follow in the footsteps of his father by pursuing a degree in naval engineering and the University of Bologna. While he was studying at the University of Bologna, Franco entered a music competition under the dare of a friend who was currently studying for a singer. Although Franco did not win the competition, he was inspired and encouraged by the judges to continue singing. Corelli then entered the Pesaro Conservatory of Music. 
Loretta di Franco

While he was at the conservatory, Franco studied with Rita Pavoni and Arturo Melocchi but was unhappy with the results, saying that the lessons basically destroyed his upper register. Franco then decided to become his own teacher and said that teachers are "dangerous people" and a "plague to singers". Franco then wanted to turn himself into a baritone but quit after a while. He then began imitating famous tenors such as Enrico Caruso, Giacomo Lauri-Volpi, Aurelino Pertile, and Beniamino Gigli.

Corelli was married to Loretta di Lelio who later became Loretta di Franco. She was an Italian soprano. 


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