Italian bass Ivo Vinco dies at 86

Ivo Vinco and Fiorenza Cossotto after La pietra del paragone, Teatro alla Scala, 1959
and after La pietra del paragone, Teatro alla Scala, 1959

Ivo Vinco: born Bosco Chies­anuova, Ver­ona, 8 Novem­ber 1927; died Ver­ona, 8 June 2014

Italian bass Ivo Vinco died yesterday at the age of 86 in Verona, just thirty kilometres from where he was born, Bosco Chiesanuova, and in the city where he studied singing at the Liceo Musicale until transferring to Milan’s La Scala Academy.

His début came in 1954, in Verona, when he sang Ramfis in Aida and during his career sang in all the major international opera houses.

Vinco’s repertoire included Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Oroveso in Norma, Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Sparafucile in Rigoletto, Ferrando in Il trovatore, Fiesco in Simon Boccanegra, Padre Guardiano in La forza del destino, Grande Inquisitore in Don Carlo and Alvise in La Gioconda. In many of these operas he was accompanied on stage by his wife, mezzo-soprano Fiorenza Cossotto who, even though they divorced after a marriage of 40 years, continued to call him her husband and was by his bedside in hospital for weeks earlier this year when he was suffering with a severe bronchitis. However, he recovered and died after falling in his home and hitting his head.

Among his studio recordings are La Gioconda, with Maria Callas (and as in most of these, also Fiorenza Cossotto) in 1959; the 1960 Rigoletto with Ettore Bastianini, Renata Scotto, Alfredo Kraus and Gianandrea Gavazzeni on the podium; Don Carlo in 1961 with Flaviano Labò, Antonietta Stella, Boris Christoff,  Bastianini and Cossotto under the baton of Gabriele Santini for Deutsche Grammophon; and again for DG a Rigoletto with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Scotto, and Cossotto with Rafael Kubelik conducting in 1963.

Vinco is also in the video recording of Herbert von Karajan’s La bohème with Mirella Freni, Gianni Raimondi and Rolando Panerai in 1964.

There are also many live recordings, notable the various recordings of Norma with Callas (Paris, 1965), Gencer (Lausanne, 1966), and Montserrat Caballè (Barcelona, 1970; La Scala, 1972).

Verdi was his favourite composer. In a 1988 interview with Jeanne Percesepe Bell he said,

For me, the master of the singing voice is Giuseppe Verdi, and I will tell you why: because Giuseppe Verdi, first of all, teaches us to connect the tones, in phrases; to create ‘cello-like singing lines, a legato which is perhaps greater even than Bellini’s, not to mention Mozart. Mozart, as we know, was not the master of legato, but Verdi created melo­dies with ‘cello-like singing lines for all the voices and pre­pared for the difficulties in the high notes with preceding notes that assist you, like a springboard for a jumper.

An athlete who must take a jump, uses a base from which to arrive at the height with facility, whereas we find in other composers certain huge leaps, taking a low note and then immediately a high note, like weight-lifting. Verdi is a mas­ter, the great master for the voice. Whoever sings Verdi, and sings it well, can never ruin his voice ….

Ivo Vinco’s nephew, Marco, is also a well-known bass.


Ivo Vinco: born Bosco Chiesanuova, Verona, 8 November 1927; died Verona, 8 June 2014


  1. Olga Roma says

    It might be true that the great Fiorenza was his call­ing card, but he cer­tainly wouldn’t have worked in so many theatres if he wasn’t a good singer. RIP

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