Death of an international tenor, 70

Death of an international tenor, 70


norman lebrecht

January 14, 2018

The Philippine tenor Otoniel Gonzaga, who trained at Curtis and performed on most of the world’s great stages, has died at the age of 70, the Vienna Volksoper reports.

He based his career in Germany, where he was a member of the Frankfurt ensemble, but was often called as cover  for Placido Domingo in Otello and for other major roles in his own right.

Known to colleagues as ‘Tony’, he worked with Herbert von Karajan, Giuseppe Patane, Eugene Ormandy, Alberto Erede, John Pritchard and Michael Gielen.


  • Thomas Silverbörg says:

    Sorry to be reading this. Tony was a wonderful singer and nice guy.

  • Joe Pearce says:

    I was introduced to Gonzaga by a personal friend of his, the late German-American opera – lover and record collector Alfred Zwiebel about 30 years back. I was never able to understand why he was never in the top echelon of the tenors of his time. It was a glorious voice for the dramatic tenor repertoire.

  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    I think I met him when he came to visit a colleague of mine in Germany around 2002 or so. Very nice chap, if I’m thinking of the right person.

  • NonBarihunk says:

    Made my German debut with him in Ballo many years ago. A lovely man, great colleague and a very fine singer. RIP.

  • Mary Biedler Williams says:

    Otoniel was a friend of my family’s when we lived in the Philippines in the early ’60’s. Even then as a teenager, Otoniel loved opera and would spontaneously burst into song with his beautiful voice. He was a kind and dignified human being, as were his parents—Uncle Ed and Auntie to me. I loved his wonderful family and cherish the memories. Go with God, ‘Toniel.

  • RobertoBaritono says:

    Tony was the Calaf in Anchorage when i sang my first Ping in 2003. He was super nice and supportive of the rest of the cast. I am very sad to hear he has passed away. I too am astonished he never had a top career in America. He was incredible.

  • Hope Boring says:

    This Sunday, August 19, 2018 The Columbus Maennerchor and Damenchor will celebrate Tony’s life at 2 PM at Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbus, Ohio. We were blessed to have Tony as a Maennerchor member and have his lovely wife Christina singing with the Damenchor. Further info and photos can be found on Facebook under Columbus Maennerchor. (Pages) It will be a moving celebration, of Tony’s legacy.