Franco Corelli takes on all other tenors, and leaves them gasping

Franco Corelli takes on all other tenors, and leaves them gasping


norman lebrecht

March 27, 2021

Just listen to the greatest.



  • Nik says:

    Of course, FC wipes the floor with all three of them.
    But purely on the basis of this clip, RV comes out much better than JK or PB. This must have been recorded during that brief moment before his first vocal crisis. I mean, he actually sounds good there, credit where it’s due. Pity it didn’t last.

  • Klaus says:

    What a disgrace this “current” generation of tenor “Stars” are. Wild, swallowed tone, no legato, no artistry, just PR and a deaf audience. Shame on those who elevate them.

  • M.Arnold says:

    Yeah, Franco by a mile. He makes it look so easy but, out of curiosity, I’d like to see Del Monaco there.I don’t think it’s a role Beczala would ever undertake @ the Met. As for RV, very sad what happened. By accident, ( I almost never went to NYCO) I saw his debut as Rodolpho years back and it was extraordinary. .

  • fred says:

    The greatest??? What about Caruso, Gigli, Del Monaco, Di Stefano, Carlo Bergonzi, Bjoerling? He certainly belongs to the five greatest post WWII tenors but Del Monaco at his best (read at his best) was equally great or even greater….

  • Greg Bottini says:

    Corelli is one of the very few truly great tenori di forza.
    Putting him up against those three merely good (and no more) tenors is like putting Mike Tyson up against Danny Bonaduce.

  • David K. Nelson says:

    Yes let’s give Mario del Monaco a try in this aria.

    Not the best sound, but then Corelli’s is not the best sound either so I think it is a fair comparison.

    And then there was a fellow named Gigli

  • M2N2K says:

    Nonsense – no one is “destroying” anybody. In my opinion PB does not really belong in such company and FC was truly great indeed, but RV in his regrettably brief prime was wonderful too and for a couple of decades until just a few years ago JK was a very special performer with gorgeously rich voice colors and an outstanding range of expression. Besides, there were several other great ones as many commenters have already mentioned above here.

  • Alexander T says:

    Yes! Corelli, by far.

  • Marshall says:

    The gods must have been in a good mood when they handed out talent that day. To have been given that voice and that appearance rolled into one is almost a bit too much. But we were the beneficiaries.

    He was an exciting a performer as I ever witnessed, and in his best roles was simply incomparable. And this was not achieved just with high notes-though the size and boldness of his Cs and beyond drove another famous tenor crazy-but Franco also achieved his impact through colors, shadings, diminuendi, soft singiing without falsetto, etc.

    The strange thing is that in that era there were many great tenors (all so superior to what we get today), and the second stringers would have been stars today. The explanation could become quite complex, but the simple answer is an art form as it was practiced is coming to its end.

  • Ashu says:

    A very great singer. The one album he did with Motley Crue was by far their best. I’d like to hear that sacco di merda Vince Neil try this material. But alas, that’s who the fans wanted.

  • Stephanie D says:

    I have thought that about the younger singers for such a long time. Compare so many of that era with today’s. With rare exceptions (there are a couple e.g. Polenzani) they force their voices (damn I should not be able to see their tonsils–it’s ugly). Maybe a system that forces them to do more than they are able is the big problem: maturity of a voice comes with time.