Born: December 21, 1924
Giangiacomo Guelfi studied at the Centro Lirico in Florence, as well as with legendary Italian baritone Titta Ruffo, and made his opera debut in the title role of Verdi's Rigoletto in 1950, an exceptionally young age for such a work. He won the Spoleto Experimental Theater Prize and made his La Scala debut in 1952 as The Visitor in Castro's Proserpina y el extranjero. He made his London debut two years later at Drury Lane as Gerard in Giordano's Andrea Chénier. Though he drew considerable acclaim in a 1957 performance of Verdi's I due Foscari in Venice, and he was considered a rising star during the late '50s and early '60s, it was not until his 1964 performance of Verdi's Macbeth at La Scala that he was acknowledged as a full-fledged star. He made his Metropolitan debut in 1970 as Scarpia in Puccini's Tosca. He was particularly admired during his prime for his powerful voice, but like many possessors of such voices, occasionally indulged in bellowing and, toward the end of his career, relied excessively on extra-musical vocal effects.