Sad passing of an Italian tenor who rose too fast

Sad passing of an Italian tenor who rose too fast


norman lebrecht

December 12, 2018

The death is reported of Gianfranco Cecchele, a luminous tenor who won major roles in the 1960s opposite the likes of Callas, Nilsson and Tebaldi. He was Radames in Aida and Pollione in Norma, not to mention Wagner’s Rienzi.

By the end of his 20s he had given 241 performances, and the vocal strain began to tell.

The rest of us career was notably quieter.

He died today of lung disease, aged 80.



  • Miguel Esteban says:

    Dear Norman, You help me discover artists of which I would never have normally heard. According to the Italian Wikipedia, Cecchele actually continued his career into the mid-90s after a tonsillectomy in 1969. He even sang Otello in Bonn in 1981 and features in various live recordings as well as a studio recording of Aroldo in 1979 with Montserrat Caballé. Grazie, Miguel

  • Nonbarihunk. says:

    I heard him as a very good Cavaradossi at La Scala in the late 70’s and again in the same role circa 1980/1 at Covent Garden.
    Fine singer. RIP.

  • Dominic Stafford says:

    I’m sorry, but this is nonsense. He was part of my mother’s noted list of major tenors and was prominent on that list well into the 1980s.

    He was a fine singer. He could have had a bigger recording career and didn’t, for reasons beyond his control, but he had a splendid career in theatres around the world.

    He took a break in 1969 for a tonsillectomy. Inflamed tonsils are not a result of poor vocal technique.

    Please rely less on Wikipedia for information.