Ezio Pinza (1892-1957)

Don Giovanni by W. A. Mozart

Having studied at the Bologna Conservatory, Pinza made his début in 1914 as Oroveso in Norma  in Soncino, near Cremona. After World War I he began to sing in the principal Italian houses, notably at La Scala under Toscanini (1922-1924). His appearance at the Metropolitan Opera in 1926 as the Pontifex Maximus in Spontini’s La vestale  began a period of 22 consecutive seasons as one of the company’s leading basses. His repertory there of 52 roles included, besides all the important bass parts in Italian opera, outstanding portrayals of Don Giovanni and Figaro, both of which he also sang frequently at the Salzburg Festival. During the 1930s he appeared in five Covent Garden seasons. After leaving the Metropolitan at the age of 56, he began a second career in musical comedy, operetta and musical films, scoring an enormous success on Broadway in South Pacific in 1949. Pinza’s beautiful and cultivated basso cantante, his handsome presence, engaging personality and spirited acting made him the most richly gifted and accomplished Italian bass of his day. (Desmond Shawe-Taylor)

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