Artist Profile: Tito Schipa, Famed ‘Tenore di Grazia’

By David Salazar

There were many controversial aspects about the life of tenor Tito Schipa. But there will never be any doubt that he was a great tenor.

Born on Dec. 27, 1888, he studied in Milan and made his opera debut in Vercelli at the age of 21. From there he started performing throughout his native Italy and Buenos Aires. He also famously created the role of Ruggiero in the world premiere of Puccini’s “La Rondine” in 1917 before heading across the Atlantic Ocean for debuts all across North America.

He was recorded extensively and there are performances of his preserved on video. In addition, to being a top tenor, he was also a conductor. He would become a teacher in his later years.

Unfortunately, he was also remembered for being loyal to Mussolini’s regime during World War II and his post-war concerts were poorly attended in the U.S.

He died of Diabetes in 1965 at the age of 77.

Signature Roles

The tenor performed a wide-range of roles in the Italian and French repertoire, and the role of Massenet’s “Werther” became his signature. Another opera that he was renowned for was Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’Amore.”

Read More on Schipa

A Look At His Diverse Artistry

Watch and Listen

Here is a series of recordings of different arias.

And here are some Neopolitan songs he performances.


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