Obituary: Famed Baritone Rolando Panerai Dies At 95

By Francisco Salazar

Legendary baritone Rolando Panerai has died at the age of 95.

The Maggio Musciale Fiorentino announced the news and noted that it will dedicate the upcoming production of “Il Trittico” to him.

Panerai was born on Oct. 17, 1924 in Campi Bisenzio, near Florence, Italy and went on to study with Frazzi in Florence and Armani and Giulia Tess in Milan.

He went on to make his stage debut in 1947 in Naples at the Teatro di San Carlo in Rossini’s “Mosè in Egitto.” In 1951, Panerai went on to make his Bergamo debut in the title role of “Simon Boccanegra“ and then performed at La Scala as Sharpless in “Madama Butterfly.”

In that same year he went on to perform in rarely performed Verdi operas on radio broadcast for RAI to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the composer’s death. Among those operas were ”Giovanna d’Arco,” “La battaglia di Legnano,” and “Aroldo.”

During his career he would go on to perform more than 150 works and would become one of the most important Verdi baritones of his generation in such roles as “Falstaff, “Rigoletto,” the Count of Luna in “Il trovatore,” Giorgio Germont in “La traviata,” Marquis of Posa in “Don Carlos,” and Amonasro in “Aida.”

He also sang the works of Mozart, Rossini, Donizetti, and Puccini. He was also an important exponent of “Gianni Schicchi” which he performed until he was 87; he sang the role at the Paris Opera, in the Staatsoper, Frankfurt and at the Glyndebourne Festival.

Panerai was a frequent collaborator of Maria Callas and Giuseppe Di Stefano as well as Renata Scotto, Beverly Sills and Tito Gobbi, among other legendary singers.

Here is a recording of the famed aria from “Un Ballo in Maschera.”