Great Italian baritone retires at 77

Great Italian baritone retires at 77


norman lebrecht

October 24, 2019

We hear from Scherzo that Leo Nucci announced his retirement from the stage after a Pavarotti gala in the Italian town of Correggio. He was a genuine Italian baritone, a true Nabucco (I heard him last two years ago in Vienna).

His retirement might be a hint for a less genuine baritone also in his late 70s.


  • batonbaton says:

    I think that less genuine one needs more than a hint, he needs opera houses, etc. to stop booking him. That is the only way to stop an ego that seems not to know when to give up. That goes for his ‘conducting’ too – podium hog.

  • Jonathan says:

    Here is Nucci at age 75 showing some of his warm ups and singing Posa’s Death from Don Carlo at a Masterclass for opera students in Vienna a few years ago.

    His voice is still in remarkable shape.

    I saw that he has recently turned his attention to directing operas. I am sure that after a lifetime on the stage he has some wonderful insights that he could share with younger colleagues.

    Thanks for the memories Maestro Nucci!

  • Mike Schachter says:

    A sad day for great Italian baritones, though Nucci is fortunately still with us. The saying that they don’t make them like that any more seems all too accurate.

  • Anon says:

    He’s certainly a personable old chap. Truly enjoyed working with him. Don’t know much about baritones but he sure knows his Verdi.

  • Ernest says:

    He still has Nabucco in Torino in Feb 2020

  • Karl says:

    “His retirement might be a hint for a less genuine baritone also in his late 70s.”

    Low blow buddy! If big crowds keep showing up then he should keep singing if he wants to.

  • Ms.Melody says:

    Does every bit of news also need to include a less than subtle attack on Placido Domingo?
    Let us kick him while he is down, shall we?
    Give it a rest, please.

  • Victoria says:

    Or maybe Nucci has taken a hint from seeing how Domingo, his old friend and colleague has been treated by the industry they both have dedicated their entire lives to, and felt that it might no longer worth shedding one’s blood for. I wonder how many in the world of classical music are feeling the same.

    In the case of Domingo, I hope he will not lose heart and will continue to perform while working on vindicating himself.

  • Michael in Missouri says:

    A very fine singer who has served the art for many decades now. Nucci is one of those singers who is best appreciated live. Recordings never seem to capture the voice’s scale and projection. When I heard him the first time, as Rigoletto in Vienna, it was a huge revelation.

    • Cornishman says:

      Yes, I think that’s spot on. I heard him live in Strasbourg around 40 years ago and was immensely impressed by the ring and resonance of his voice, as well as by his acting skills. I’ve since bought several of his recordings, but have always been slightly disappointed. What little I know of him, though, also suggests that he’s a genuinely nice guy.

    • Greg Bottini says:

      I agree totally with you and Cornishman about the greatness of Leo Nucci.
      But back when I was buying a lot of opera records, and looking over the cast lists to make a decision on which version to buy, Leo Nucci’s name always ended up on the plus side. I was never disappointed with his recordings.
      If he sang better in person, well, BRAVO NUCCI!
      – regards, Greg

  • Edgar says:

    Grazie, grazie! I fondly remember Leo Nucci in a terrific “Nabucco” at La Fenice several years ago.

  • Tom Loughlin Jr says:

    Ok, folks, being ignorant in this matter, who is the baton crazy pseudo baritone who hogs podiums?. He sounds like a churl and a dastard. String him up by naming him, please. Even if I am now ignoring him as part of my general ignorance, I would like to add intentional ignoring to the insult. That’ll teach him.

  • david hilton says:

    Yes, a great Italian baritone. But, maybe surprisingly, I also consider him the best Onegin I ever heard (at the Met).