Obituary: Franco Bordoni Dies at 88

By Francisco Salazar

Franco Bordoni has died at the age of 88 on Feb. 13, 2020.

The Italian baritone was born in Bologna on Jan. 1, 1932 and went on to study at the Conservatorio G.B. Martini di Bologna. However, he abandoned it two years later and learned by listening to CDs of Beniamino Gigli and Carlo Tagliabue.

In 1953, he made his debut at the Teatro Nuovo di Imola in Puccini’s “La Bohème” as Schaunard. From there he would go on to perform comprimario roles in Busseto, Fano, Lonigo, Bavaria, Toulouse, Parma, and Barcelona.

His big break came in 1967 at the Teatro Comunale in Bologna when he debuted the role of Rigoletto, substituting for an ill colleague. This performance will mark the start of an important career singing Verdi. He would also sing roles by Bellini, Massenet, Wagner, Mascagni, Donizetti, Bizet, and Puccini, among others.

He went on to sing in Torino, Genova, Parma, Milano, Venezia, Verona, Bologna, Macerata, Roma, Napoli, Palermo, Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, Bilbao, La Coruña, Tenerife, Paris, Marseille, Bordeaux, Aix en Provence, London Berlin, Monaco, Düsseldorf, Vienna, Graz, Basel, Zurich,  San Francisco, Dallas, Chicago, Santiago de Chile, and many other important cities.

Bordoni went on to perform with many important singers including Mario Del Monaco, Giuseppe Di Stefano, Franco Corelli, Montserrat Caballé‚ Jose Carreras, Eva Marton, Katia Ricciarelli, Placido Domingo, Luciano Richard Tucker, GraceBumbry, and Elena, among others.

In 2000, he retired from the stage at the Slovenian National Theatre interpreting Rodrigo in Verdi’s “Don Carlo.”

In total his career lasted 47 years and he went on to perform “Rigoletto” 400 times.

Bordoni left behind a number of recorded performances which included “La Gioconda,” “I Vespri Sicilianni,” “La Traviata,” and “Un Ballo in Maschera.” He is also featured on a studio recording of “Madama Butterfly.”

Here he is in “Un Ballo in Maschera” alongside Enriqueta Tarres.

And here he is in “Don Carlo.”