The Italian tenor Marcello Giordani, a mainstay of New York’s Metropolitan Opera, has died at the age of 56. The cause of his death has been attributed to a heart attack, announced by his manager, Katherine Olsen.
The tenor, who appeared more than 240 times with the Met in 27 roles, was born in Augusta, Sicily, on January 25, 1963. Although he initially worked in banking, Giordani was encouraged by his opera-loving father to pursue a career in music. The tenor’s first success came when he sang the Duke of Mantua at the Spoleto Festival in 1986, the year that also saw him tackle his first Cavaradossi, aged 23. Giordani’s La Scala debut followed just two years later in performances of La Bohème, as did his American debut at Portland Opera in the role of Nadir in Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles. Appearances with San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles and Philadelphia’s opera companies came in swift succession, along with significant engagements such as Giordani’s 1995 Covent Garden performances of Alfredo in La Traviata under the baton of Georg Solti.
The Met called in the summer of 1993, with Giordani appearing as Nemorino in a Parks Concert presentation of L’Elisir d’Amore. The tenor’s mainstage debut with the company came two years later, which saw him win acclaim as Rodolfo in Franco Zeffirelli’s iconic production of La Bohème. The Met soon became Giordani’s artistic home, his frequent appearances there encompassing two company premieres, five new productions and the opening nights of two seasons. His roles there largely centred on the Italian repertoire, but he also won favourable notices as Lensky in Eugene Onegin, Don José in Carmen and Des Grieux in Massenet’s Manon. Giordani’s most recent Met performances were in 2016, where he appeared as the besotted troubadour Manrico in Il Trovatore.
“It’s a tragic loss,” said frequent co-star Renée Fleming in a statement to the Associated Press. “He possessed the easiest, most clarion high notes, and was convincing in every role.”
In recent years, the tenor established the Marcello Giordani Foundation, a non-profit organisation that provides young singers with masterclasses, training opportunities and financial assistance in the United States and abroad.
Giordani is survived by his wife, Wilma, and their two sons.