Tenor Marcello Giordani died this afternoon following a heart attack – he was 56 years old.
He was at his home in Augusta in the Province of Syracuse when at about 3 pm, after lunch, he felt unwell, but an hour of attempts to revive him by medical staff who arrived by ambulance and helicopter were to no avail.
Just a month ago he was singing the role of Calaf in Turandot at the Ancient theatre of Taormina and at the Greek Theatre of Syracuse. His next role was in Aida in Liège.
He leaves his wife, Wilma, and two children.
The funeral will be on Monday at 4pm in the Chiesa Madre in Augusta.
His colleague and friend, the soprano Desirée Rancatore, also from Siciliy, wrote,
His voice will live forever and his beautiful soul will always be in the minds of those who new him…
I had the privelege of singing with you in important opera houses and we did some wonderful things together like your projects last year with the Sesto Senso Opera Festival, and I thank you for the beautiful words that you have always found for me, and for the strength that you have always shown.
Angela Gheorghiu wrote,
I am devastated by the very sudden and early loss of my dear friend and great colleague, Marcello Giordani, a tenor with a golden voice with whom I had the pleasure to sing together many times at the Metropolitan Opera, The Royal Opera House, the Teatro Real Madrid among others, and the last time in our Japan tour in 2017 with Teatro Massimo. May your soul rest in peace, your voice will live eternally in our hearts!
In 2007, The New York Times wrote,
Not many tenors these days excel in the full-bodied, lyric Puccini and Verdi repertory once owned by the likes of Carlo Bergonzi, Giuseppe Di Stefano and Luciano Pavarotti. The closest we have may be the Italian tenor Marcello Giordani, who took over the role of Rodolfo on Wednesday night for the first of four final performances in the Metropolitan Opera’s current revival of Puccini’s “Bohème.”…
It was as Rodolfo that Mr. Giordani made his 1995 Met debut, and it is always rewarding to hear the role sung by a true Puccini tenor… At his best Mr. Giordani can certainly invest a Puccini phrase with vibrant sound and soaring lyricism.
Giordani was born in Augusta, in Sicily, in 1963, as Marcello Guagliardo and began his voice studies in 1983 in Catania, and then in Milan.
In 1986, he won the singing competition of Spoleto, and that same year he made his debut as the Duke in Rigoletto at the Spoleto Festival. His debut in the United States was in the role of Nadir in Les Pêcheurs de Perles at the Portland Opera during the 1988-89 season. He made his debut at Teatro alla Scala of Milan as Rodolfo in La Bohème in 1988, and at the Metropolitan of New York as Nemorino in L’Elisir d’Amore in 1993.
Important milestones in Giordani’s career include his debut as Paolo il Bello in Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini and his debut in Giancarlo del Monaco’s production of Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West, broadcast live as part of the Metropolitan “Live in HD” series. He sang the tenor role of Gabriele Adorno in a revival of Giancarlo del Monaco’s production of Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra alongside Placido Domingo in the title role. He was Pinkerton in the company’s new production of Madama Butterfly by Anthony Minghella. The following year saw his debuts in the title role of Verdi’s Ernani and as Enée in Berlioz’ Les Troyens, Earlier appearances include his performances in the title roles of the Met’s premiere of Bellini’s Il Pirata in 2002, and of Berlioz’ Benvenuto Cellini in 2003). His debut as Enzo in La Gioconda with OONY in 2004, where his interpretation of the aria “Cielo e mar” received a four-minute applause, and his performance as Arnold in OONY’s concert performance of Guillaume Tell, where the audience stopped the show following his execution of the cabaletta “Amis, amis secondez ma vengeance.”
Giordani’s “Musical Academy Marcello Giordani YAP (Young Artists Program)” provides encouragement, training opportunities, career assistance and financial support, including scholarships and awards, to promising and talented young singers.
His discography includes the first studio recording of Verdi’s Jérusalem by Philips; a recording of Verdi’s Rigoletto with the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra; a recent release of Berlioz’ Benvenuto Cellini registered live from the stage of the Metropolitan in 2003; and 3 solo recordings: Tenor Arias (Naxos); Sicilia Bella (VAI) a collection of songs of authors from his native Sicily; and Ti voglio tanto bene, a CD of Neapolitan and Italian songs dedicated to the great Italian tenors of the past.
On DVD, Giordani can be seen in Franco Zeffirelli’s production of Madama Butterfly from the Arena di Verona (2004); La Bohème from the Opernhaus Zürich (2005); La Gioconda, from the Teatro Bellini of Catania (2006); La Forza del Destino by the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (2007), and in five Metropolitan Opera productions broadcast live worldwide from the stage of the Metropolitan: Manon Lescaut (2008), Madama Butterfly (2009), Turandot (2009), Simon Boccanegra (2010), and La Fanciulla del West (2011). He was also featured in two additional Met Opera productions broadcast live as part of the Met’s “live in HD” series: Berlioz’ La Damnation de Faust, Verdi’s Ernani and Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini.
- More to come
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.