Artist Profile: King Phillip Himself, Ferruccio Furlanetto

By David Salazar

Ferruccio Furlanetto is one of opera’s great Verdi basses, though his repertoire has vastly evolved throughout his successful career.

Born on May 16, 1949, Furlanetto made his professional debut at age 25 in Lonigo. Five years later he was at La Scala in Verdi’s “Macbeth.” His Met debut came in 1981, where he has been a fixture throughout his career. In the US, he has also frequently performed at the San Diego Opera.

But his international repute has taken him to Paris, Salzburg, Buenos Aires, Vienna, Tel Aviv, and London, where he has performed at all the major opera houses.

Furlanetto’s repertoire is unique. He has championed many of the great Verdi bass roles but has also been known for his work in Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and Mussorgsky. He has been a modern-day champion of Massenet’s “Don Quichotte” and has enjoyed a dynamic recorded legacy that reflects his vast repertoire.

Signature Roles

Furlanetto has dominated the works of Verdi for much of his career, but none is more iconic than his Filippo in “Don Carlo.” The bass is Filippo like few others and with every interpretation and production, his interpretation has deepened. His more recent turns emphasize the fragile and broken state of the monarch, his vocal evolution furthering this feeling of intense pain and failure.

He is also a major proponent of Verdi’s “Attila” in recent times, his interpretation among the most iconic of recent decades.

Watch and Listen

Here is a performance of Filippo’s famous aria from the Metropolitan Opera.

And for some perspective, here is an interpretation from his younger years.


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