Franco Corelli in Carmen

Franco Corelli in Carmen

Franco Corelli in Carmen

Franco Corelli, Reflections on a Career and a Life: an Interview with Stefan Zucker

Portions reprinted from Opera News by permission

by Stefan Zucker

“I don’t miss the pressures, but I do miss the joy of singing and performing.” —Franco Corelli

IN RECENT YEARS, the legendary tenor Franco Corelli participated in a series of interviews with Stefan Zucker, host of “Opera Fanatic,” the popular (now defunct) late-night program on New York radio station WKCR-FM. They also collaborated on a theater series, An Evening with Franco Corelli and Stefan Zucker. The following comments are excerpted from these programs. (For information about the 7 Corelli interview tapes, see our full catalog).

Stefan Zucker: It’s said that before you began your career you lost your high notes and became a baritone. What happened?

Franco Corelli: I was young and didn’t know how to use my voice. My vocal cords were unable to sustain the pressure to which I subjected them. Since I was very athletic, with a strong diaphragm, my voice’s birthright was great volume of breath and breath span. After three months of lessons with soprano Rita Pavoni, I lost my voice, and then for a period of three or four months I studied as a baritone.
     When I was a boy, Tito Gobbi gave a concert in my hometown, Ancona. He said that singing is like sport. In sport if you get tired, you still keep on pushing, and without proper training I drove my voice. After a page of music, my voice would get lower. I thought that to get through an entire aria, I’d have to make the switch to baritone. I did have a big enough middle register to enable me to pass for one.

Franco Corelli Photos