Obituary: Italian Soprano Gabriella Tucci Dies, Aged 90

By Logan Martell

Soprano Gabriella Tucci has passed away as of July 11, 2020, in Rome, the city of her birth.

Educated at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Tucci made her professional debut at the Teatro Sperimentale di Spoleto, performing the role of Leonora in “La Forza del Destino.” In 1953 she sang alongside Maria Callas in Florence’s production of Cherubini’s “Medea.”

She would go on to sing at many of the world’s most prominent theaters, such as Royal Opera House, the Bolshoi Theatre, the Vienna State Opera, Teatro alla Scala, and the Metropolitan Opera, where she sang 260 performances over thirteen consecutive seasons. She holds the record as the soprano who has sung the most principal Verdi roles with the Met-eleven.

While Tucci specialized in the Italian repertoire, particularly the works of Verdi and Puccini, she performed over 80 roles in Italian, French, German, Russian, and English, throughout her worldwide career. Among her signature roles included Maddalena in “Andrea Chenier,” Cio-Cio Sans in “Madama Butterfly,” Gilda in “Rigoletto,” “Aida,” Leonora in “Il Trovatore” and “La Forza del Destino,” Mimi in “La Boheme,” and Desdemona in “Otello.”

Critics praised the soprano’s tone stating her “voice is large and opulent. It possesses color and it has warmth.”

Tucci made only two commercial recordings, “Pagliacci” in 1959, opposite Mario del Monaco, and “Il Trovatore” in 1964, opposite Franco Corelli. There are also a number of live performances available and some video recordings.