Franco Bonisolli

25.05.1938 - 30.10.2003


Franco Bonisolli (May 25, 1938, Rovereto, Italy - October 30, 2003, Vienna, Austria) was an Italian operatic tenor, particularly associated with the Italian repertory, notably as Manrico and Calaf.

Life and career

Bonisolli studied with Alfredo Lattaro, and after winning an international voice contest, he made his debut in Spoleto, as Ruggero, in 1962. He quickly established himself throughout Italy, appearing first in lyric roles such as, Nemorino, Duca di Mantua, Alfredo, Rodolfo, des Grieux, Hoffmann, etc.

He took part in revivals of neglected opera such as La donna del lago, opposite Montserrat Caballé, and Le siège de Corinthe, opposite Beverly Sills, and took part in the creation of new works, such as La lampada di Alidino by Rota, and Luisilla by Mannino.

He began an international career in the early 1970s, with debut at the Vienna State Opera, the Salzburg Festival, the Paris Opéra, the Metropolitan Opera, etc., and began expanding his repertory to include more dramatic roles, notably Arnold, Don Jose, Manrico, Radames, Otello, Cavaradossi, Calaf, etc.

Bonisolli was a highly gifted and exciting singer with a ringing upper register, but as the years went by his singing became increasingly undisciplined. His eccentric behaviour and his onstage antics earned him the nickname "Il Pazzo" (The Madman), and made him a difficult colleague to work with.

He can be heard on several recordings, notably Rigoletto, Il trovatore, La traviata, which were all soundtrack of German TV productions. He also appeared in 1968, in a film version of La traviata, opposite Anna Moffo and Gino Bechi. In 1976, he recorded Mario Cavaradossi in Tosca, opposite Galina Vishnevskaya.

He died suddenly in Vienna, at the age of 65.

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