Artist Profile: Mario Filippeschi, A Bel Canto Champion

By David Salazar

Few tenors have had the ringing high notes of Mario Filippeschi.

The tenor, born on June 7, 1907, actually started his musical life as a clarinetist, eventually joining the military. After some time in the armed forces, he was discharged and took on voice lessons, eventually debuting in Colorno in 1937 in the role of Edgardo in “Lucia di Lammermoor.”

He would go on to perform at opera houses around the world for the ensuing 20 years. His early career was centered on heavier roles by Verdi and verismo composers, eventually transitioning to bel canto operas by Rossini, Donizetti, and Bellini.

In the early 1960s, he surprisingly announced his retirement from the stage and opened up an “artistic shop” in Florence in 1962.

In 1977, he received the Bellini D’Oro and the Luculliano D’Oro.”

He died on Dec. 25, 1979.

Signature Roles

Throughout his career, he was actually a champion of reviving many bel canto classics, especially the works of Rossini. He famously interpreted the role of Arnoldo in “Guillaume Tell” all over Italy and overseas; he first debuted the role in 1949 and performed it over a 10-year span.

But his signature role was that of The Duke in “Rigoletto,” which he portrayed throughout his career. “Il Trovatore” was another opera that played a major role throughout his career.

Watch and Listen

Here is a famed interpretation of “Il Trovatore.”

Here he is in “Rigoletto.”


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