Obituary: Tenor Nicola Cencherle Passes Away

By Francisco Salazar

Italian-South African Tenor Nicola Cencherle has died.

Born in Schio, Italy, he immigrated to South Africa with his parents at an early age and began singing lessons at age of 18 with Xandre Haagen at Pretoria University and later with Alessandro Rota.

He joined PACOFS at the age of 25 and would make his operatic debut as Cavaradossi. In 1971, he returned to Italy and won the Teatro Nuovo Competition in Milano. He would then make his Italian debut in “Lucia di Lammermoor” and would follow that with “Il tabarro,” “L’amico Fritz,” and “Simon Boccanegra.” He appeared in his native Italy for seven years before returning to Cape Town.

Throughout his career, he was also a favorite of the Cape Town Opera where he sang “Lucia di Lammermoor” and “La Traviata.” Other operas she performed were “La Bohème,” “Carmen,” “Rigoletto,” and “Madama Butterfly,” among others.

Cencherle also joined CAPAB where he was a member of the permanent company for 18 years.

As a tenor, he sang a variety of opera, operetta, Neapolitan & Italian songs as well as popular ballads. He was also featured on the radio, television, and film.