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Beniamino Gigli


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Beniamino Gigli (March 20, 1890 - November 30, 1957) was an Italian singer, widely regarded as one of the greatest operatic tenors of his time.

Gigli was born in Recanati, in the Marche, the son of a shoe-maker and an opera buff.

In 1914, Gigli won first prize in an international singing competition in Parma. His operatic debut came on October 15, 1914 when he played Enzo in Amilcare Ponchielli’s La Gioconda in Rovigo, following which he was in great demand. Gigli made many important debuts, in quick succession and always in Mefistofele: Teatro Massimo di Palermo (March 31, 1915), Teatro San Carlo di Napoli (December 26, 1915), Teatro Costanzi di Roma (December 26, 1916), La Scala (November 19, 1918), and finally the Metropolitan (November 26, 1920).

Other roles Gigli became particularly associated with included Rodolfo in Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème and the title role in Umberto Giordano’s Andrea Chénier, both of which he would later record in full.

Gigli rose to prominence after the death of Italian tenor Enrico Caruso in 1921. He was often called “Caruso Secondo”, though he much preferred to be known as “Gigli Primo.”

Gigli left the Met in 1932, ostensibly after refusing to take a pay cut. Giulio Gatti-Casazza, the Met’s General Manager at the time, was furious at his company’s most popular singer; he spread numerous lies to the press, e.g., that Gigli was the only singer not to accept the pay cut. There were several others, e.g., Lily Pons and Rosa Ponselle.


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  • OG-Gurda

    So great.

    7 Jan 6:00pm Reply
  • TheDarthsala

    Beniamino Gigli - the real art of singing personified.

    23 Mar 2013 Reply
  • MusicHallofFame

    The Music Hall of Fame are delighted to induct Beniamino Gigli into the Class of 1980. Congratulations. Please vist our page too see the latest inductees into the Music Hall of Fame.

    26 Aug 2012 Reply
  • gfdsagfdsagfdsa

    My dad loves this

    29 Mar 2012 Reply

    Gigli es grandioso. Técnicamente impecable, y con gran dolcceza, con todo y los sollozos, es verdaderamente un grande!

    22 Oct 2011 Reply
  • Spencetastic

    Vainement, ma Bien Aimée by Beniamino should be on this list

    24 Jan 2010 Reply
  • molenaarh


    4 Mar 2009 Reply
  • dagodame

    To hear Beniamino Gigli sing is sheer bliss to the ears

    2 Aug 2008 Reply
  • funkayy

    I'm looking for Cara Salva, if anyone can help me out.

    14 May 2008 Reply

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