Artist Profile: Ernesto Palacio, One of Peru’s Greatest Tenors

By David Salazar

There haven’t been all that many singers from Peru to embark on massive international careers. You could probably count them on your fingers.

Ernesto Palacio, born on Oct. 19, 1946, is one of those artists. And not only has he had a prominent impact on his own career, but he has also been the mastermind behind another Peruvian superstar – Juan Diego Flórez.

Palacios actually set out on a career in theology before eventually committing fully to music. Studies in Milan led to him winning the “Voci Nuovi Rossiniane” competition in 1972. His La Scala debut came in that same year as Lindoro in “L’Italiana in Algeri.”

He then developed a solid career all over Italy before making it big in such European cities as London, Barcelona, and Aix-en-Provence, among others.

He would also become a major success throughout South America, appearing at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires and Caracas, Venezuela.

He made five appearances at the Met throughout his career all of them in a run of “L’Italiana in Algeri” during the 1985-86 season.

After his career as a performer, he became a vocal coach and artist manager; his association with Flórez is most notable in this respect. Flórez has credited Palacio with being a major component of his superstardom.

Signature Roles

Palacio is regarded as one of the fine tenore di grazia in recent times, his interpretations in the operas of Rossini, among his most notable.

His recording of “L’Italiana in Algeri” with Marilyn Horne is regarded as one of the finest of the opera.

He did make several forays into the works of Donizetti, Bellini, Mozart, and Cimarosa, among others.

Watch and Listen

Here are some Rossini classics by the tenor.

And a full recording of “Il Barbiere di Siviglia.”


Opera Wiki