Artist Profile: Ezio Pinza’s Legendary Career Sans Music Reading

Italian bass Ezio Pinza, born on May 18, 1892, never learned to read music.

But that didn’t stop him from enjoying a massively successful career.

The bass grew up in Ravenna and would study in Bologna. He made his Operatic debut in 1914 at Cremona. After four years of Military service during World War I, he made his La Scala debut in 1922 and would see his career flourish under Arturo Toscanini.

In 1926 he made his Metropolitan Opera debut and would go on to perform 22 years with the company. Many of his major iconic roles were performed for the first time at the Met. He also sang in London regularly between 1930-39 and the Salzburg Festival.

After finishing his career with the Met in 1948, Pinza went on to have a career in Broadway musicals, most notably “South Pacific.” He also appeared in a number of movies.

He passed away in 1957 from a stroke.

Signature Roles

The bass became closely associated with the role of “Don Giovanni” mainly because of his elegant vocal qualities and physique. He performed it 64 times throughout his Met career, his first showcase coming in 1929 and his final performance coming in 1948.

Read More on Ezio Pinza

A look at his shared roles with Boris Christoff

Watch and Listen

Here is a listen at his signature role as “Don Giovanni” from a Met performance in 1942.

And here he is in “Some Enchanted Evening.”

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About the Author

David Salazar
Prior to creating OperaWire, DAVID SALAZAR, (Editor-in-Chief) worked as a reporter for Latin Post where he interviewed major opera stars including Placido Domingo, Anna Netrebko, Vittorio Grigolo, Diana Damrau and Rolando Villazon among others. His 2014 interview with opera star Kristine Opolais was cited in a New York Times Review. He also had the opportunity of interviewing numerous Oscar nominees, Golden Globe winners and film industry giants such as Guillermo del Toro, Oscar Isaac and John Leguizamo among others. David holds a Masters in Media Management from Fordham University. During his time at Fordham, he studied abroad at the Jagiellonian University in Poland. He also holds a dual bachelor’s from Hofstra University in Film Production and Journalism.

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