Virus claims the life of celebrated Italian bass

Virus claims the life of celebrated Italian bass


norman lebrecht

March 27, 2020

The accomplished and popular Italian bass Luigi Roni died last night in the region of Puccini’s town of Lucca. He was 78.

After studies in Lucca, Luigi Roni performed on all the world’s major stages, last appearing on the Met HD Live in 2012.

He founded a summer festival in the Serchio valley and lived quietly in retirement with his son.


  • Nonbarihunk says:

    RIP carissimo Luigi.
    A fine, fine singer and a well respected colleague. A career that began in the mid 1960’s and continued up until fairly recently.
    He sang in many of the worlds greatest theatres with the greatest singers, in particular a long association with La Scala.
    Thank you for many wonderful evenings together Luigi, you will be missed by many.

  • Tamino says:

    How do you know he died because of the virus?

    • norman lebrecht says:

      Do you think we make it up? It was reported by his family.

      • Tamino says:

        No, sorry, what I mean is that according to the Italian numbers, 98% die with the virus, 2% die because of it (have no other known precondition.)
        I just hope that in these chaotic times we can all stay level headed and see things in perspective.
        About 3000 to 4000 people die every day in Italy altogether, this time of the year. Now about 10-20% of those with, a few from, Corona.

        • Peter San Diego says:

          Is this really a time to be splitting hairs? The preconditions, in most cases, are such that people could live with them for many years; in those cases, they indeed die of the virus, since it pushes them across the Styx.

          • Tamino says:

            Not many years, as far as we know. The people who are dying at the moment, driving up the numbers of fatalities, are mostly those who are “due” within months rather than years. But we will have to wait and see how deadly this virus was in the end overall.
            It so depends on the perspective one takes (and one’s own precondition), how dangerous this virus is compared to other times or other dangers.
            We all join now in an act of solidarity, to protect our old and weak.

          • Saxon Broken says:


            Actually, it is very unclear how many of these deaths are directly caused by COVID-19. While some people with pre-existing conditions would have died soon anyway, others would not have done. Typically flu deaths are around 200-250 a day (I think) in Italy, and slightly fewer in Spain. The reported deaths associated with COVID-19 are far in excess of that, and also include many otherwise healthy people.

  • clarrieu says:

    Ciao Luigi, one of the nicest guys on the opera stage. Sang many roles here in Toulouse…

  • ThrownOutOfTheKremlinForSinging says:

    I remember listening to recordings of him in DON GIOVANNI as Commendatore and in DON CARLO as the Grand Inquisitor, back in the vinyl days. He was quite competent, and that is a higher bar than it sounds– these are very challenging roles.