Obituary: Tenor Francisco Casanova Dies At 61

By Francisco Salazar
(Credit: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)

Dominican tenor Francisco Casanova has died at the age of 61.

The tenor died on Thursday, Sept. 26 in Providence, Rhode Island due to health issues. The news broke on social media with family members revealing his death.

Born on Oct. 3 in the Dominican Republic, the tenor began music lessons with his mother at the age of seven and went on to receive lessons from Enrique Estevez Pacheco.

He went on to obtain international success in 1996 when he replaced Luciano Pavarotti in a concert with the New York Philharmonic and went on to make his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2001. He performed 39 times with the company including a highly praised revival of “I Vespri Sicilianni,” and productions of “Tosca” and “Il Trovatore.”

He also performed at the Wiener Staatsoper, Berlin State Opera, Teatro Massimo, Opera Orchestra of New York, and Carnegie Hall, among others.

Among his signature rolees were Jew Élèazar, Mario Cavaradossi, Manrico, Arrigo both in “I Vespri Siciliani and “La Battaglia di Legnano,” Riccardo in “Un Ballo in Maschera,” Enzo Grimaldo, Didier in “Marion Delorme,” Jacopo Foscari, and Avito in “L’Amore dei Tre Re.” In total, he went onto sing 56 leading tenor roles including 22 by Giuseppe Verdi.

Casanova went on to receive such distinguished awards as the Beniamino Gigli d’Oro 2004 (Recanati) and the Beniamino Gigli d”Oro (Helsinki 2007) becoming the first non-Italian singer ever to receive this award.

He also won Singer of the Year 2002 by the Berlin Opera, The First Grand Prize for Male Voices of the 28th Edition of the Francisco Viñas Singing Competition, as well as the Special Prize La Traviata (Barcelona 1990), the Second Prize for Male Voices of the Bilbao III Singing Competition (Bilbao 1990). He was also a National Finalist of the Metropolitan Opera Guild Singing Competition in 1989.

In 2000, Casanova became honorary member of the TBoard of Directors of the International Institute of Verdi Studies. In 2009, he opened his singing school, the Singing Academy Pier Miranda Ferrarol, in New York City.

Here is Casanova performing from “Rigoletto.”