Giorgio Tozzi

Giorgio Tozzi (January 8, 1923 – May 30, 2011) was an American operatic bass. He was a mainstay for many years with the Metropolitan Opera, and sang principal bass roles in nearly every major opera house worldwide.

Giorgio Tozzi
Birth nameGeorge John Tozzi
Born(1923-01-08)January 8, 1923
Chicago, Illinois
OriginBroadway, New York City
DiedMay 30, 2011(2011-05-30) (aged 88)
Bloomington, Indiana
Occupation(s)Operatic bass
Years active1948–2006
LabelsRCA Victor


Tozzi was born George John Tozzi in Chicago, Illinois.[1] He studied at DePaul University with Rosa Raisa, Giacomo Rimini and John Daggett Howell. He later studied singing in New York City with Beverley Peck Johnson.[2] He made his professional debut in the Broadway production of Britten's The Rape of Lucretia in 1948 as Tarquinius. His signature roles included Figaro in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, Philip II in Verdi's Don Carlos, Hans Sachs in Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and Méphistophélès in Gounod's Faust.[3]

In 1957 he portrayed the title role in a nationally broadcast performance of Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov with the NBC Opera Theatre.[4]

In 1958 he created the role of The Doctor in Barber's Vanessa. In July 1958, Tozzi also recorded an album alongside Dame Julie Andrews in the operetta Rose Marie. The album was conducted by Lehman Engel, with the New Symphony Orchestra of London. Tozzi was the recipient of three Grammy Awards: in 1960 the Grammy Award for Best Classical Performance, Operatic or Choral for The Marriage of Figaro with Erich Leinsdorf; in 1961 the Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording for Puccini's Turandot, with Erich Leinsdorf; and in 1963 the Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording for Sir Georg Solti's recording of Verdi's Aida (with Leontyne Price and Jon Vickers). Tozzi also sang the bass part in the recording of Sir Thomas Beecham's version of Handel's Messiah for RCA Victor in 1959.

After dubbing the singing parts for the character of Emile de Becque (acted by Rossano Brazzi) in the 1958 film version of South Pacific, Tozzi spent many years playing the role of de Becque himself in various revivals and road tours of the show, including one at Lincoln Center in the late 1960s. In a return to live national television in 1964, he collaborated with the conductor Alfredo Antonini in the role of Herod in CBS Television's adaptation of Hector Berlioz's oratorio L'enfance du Christ. In 1980, Tozzi earned a Tony Award nomination for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his work as Tony in The Most Happy Fella.[5][6]

He was a professor at The Juilliard School, Brigham Young University, and Indiana University. He served as Distinguished Professor of Voice at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music from 1991 until he retired in 2006.[7]

He played guest roles on several television series in the 1970s and 1980s, including The Odd Couple, Baretta, Kojak, and Knight Rider.[8]

Tozzi published a novel in 1997, The Golem of the Golden West.[9]

Personal lifeEdit

Tozzi was twice married. He first married Catherine Dieringer, who died in 1963; in 1967 he married Monte Amundsen, a singer, with whom he had a son and a daughter.[10]

Tozzi died on May 30, 2011, in Bloomington, Indiana, aged 88, of a heart attack. He was survived by Amundsen, their children, Eric Tozzi and Jennifer Tozzi Hauser, and three grandchildren.[11][12]

Partial filmographyEdit

  • South Pacific (1958) – Emile De Becque (singing voice)
  • Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (1971) – Hans Sachs
  • Shamus (1973) – Dottore


  1. ^ "Opera singer and Broadway performer". The Los Angeles Times. June 3, 2011. Archived from the original on December 7, 2013. Retrieved June 5, 2011.
  2. ^ Anthony Tommasini (January 22, 2001). "Beverley Peck Johnson, 96, Voice Teacher". The New York Times.
  3. ^ Faust, retrieved 2017-12-20
  4. ^ Raymond Ericson (March 19, 1961). "Bass on the Rise; Giorgio Tozzi is that rarity in opera circles, a basso who has become well-known". The New York Times.
  5. ^ "L'enfance du Christ". 20 December 1964. Retrieved 18 November 2017 – via
  6. ^ "Giorgio Tozzi". IMDb. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  7. ^, IU Office of Creative Services, iuweb @. "Endowments & Scholarships: Giving: Jacobs School of Music: Indiana University Bloomington". Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  8. ^ "Giorgio Tozzi Interview with Bruce Duffie". 2011-06-02. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  9. ^ The Golem of the Golden West by Giorgio Tozzi on Open Library at the Internet Archive
  10. ^ "Obituary: Giorgio Tozzi". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2016-04-11.
  11. ^ Driscoll, F. Paul (May 31, 2011). "Bass Giorgio Tozzi, 88, an Artist Beloved by Met Audiences for More than Two Decades, has Died". Opera News. Retrieved June 1, 2011.
  12. ^ Margalit Fox (June 2, 2011). "Giorgio Tozzi, Esteemed Bass at the Met, Is Dead at 88". The New York Times.

External linksEdit