William Matteuzzi has established a reputation as an operatic tenor whose enormous vocal range -- particularly strong at the high end -- and attractive light lyrical voice set him apart from most of his contemporaries. He has been widely known in Europe and the Americas since the early '80s, yet one often reads of a core of devoted supporters, with some observers suggesting a "cult" status for him: indeed, Matteuzzi mavens have been quick toRead more point out his tremendously agile voice and its ability to reach above the tenor high C to a hit a high F, often sustaining it in full voice. Still active in the new century, largely as a teacher though, he is known for his Rossini portrayals, singing more than eight comic roles and over a half-dozen from Rossini's opera seria works. But Matteuzzi's repertory has extended far beyond Rossini, reaching back to Monteverdi and Vivaldi and going forward to Mozart and on to Verdi, Gounod, Puccini, and a host of others. He has tended to avoid twentieth century fare with a few exceptions, such as Zandonai's Francesca da Rimini. Matteuzzi has made numerous recordings for a variety of labels, including Decca, Philips, DG, EMI, Sony Classical, Nuova Era, and many others.
Matteuzzi was born in Bologna on December 12, 1957. He studied voice in his youth but his first serious training came with famed tenor Paride Venturi in Bologna. Further studies were with Rodolfo Celletti. 1979 was a pivotal year for the young tenor: Matteuzzi won two important competitions in Italy, the E.N.A.L. and A.S.L.I.C.O. But his 1980 victory in the Enrico Caruso Competition was a watershed event that launched his international career, a career that would involve about 100 different roles and extend to almost all the world's major opera houses. Matteuzzi debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in 1988 singing Count Almaviva in Rossini's The Barber of Seville. By the early '90s, he was a bankable operatic star, able to make a hit with recordings containing otherwise dubious repertory, as evidenced by the 1995 album Tosti -- Rare Songs on the Dynamic Italy label. In the new century Matteuzzi curtailed his performance schedule in favor of teaching: he regularly taught master classes in Japan, German, Italy, and other parts of Europe. Among his later recordings is the 2007 reissue of Bellini's I Puritani, with Richard Bonynge conducting, on the Nuova Era label. Read less