The strongest tenor there ever was

The strongest tenor there ever was

Daily Comfort Zone

norman lebrecht

October 05, 2021

Franco Corelli, because he was.

Pavarotti explains why.


  • Zvi says:

    Good for those who enjoy his unstopping and unmusical yelling.

  • Bloom says:

    Corelli has got an insane intensity. His voice is a sort of emotional drill. Gut hitting and soul shaking stuff.

  • David K. Nelson says:

    I have heard the same claim — strongest tenor voice — made for Mario del Monaco. I would have assumed however that the all time strongest tenor at least in the recorded era would be Lauritz Melchior — not just strong, but durable.

  • Robbo says:

    Corelli’s singing produced a naturally fine, open, thrilling sound of great clarity. This was because he did not force his voice to “sing in the mask”. Singing into the mask ruins the natural full expression of the voice leaving the mouth. Would that more singing teachers of today realised that because it is one reason why so many tenors do not last long. Corelli’s technique plus acting ability produced many exciting performances. That’s what we want when we go to the opera. What more could we ask for?

    • Tom Phillips says:

      He had no acting ability whatsoever.

    • CRogers says:

      I was interested to read your comments. Yes the mask is both a limited technique but also dangerous. Singers who sing in the mask are fooling themselves. For anybody interested take look at Edgar Herbert-Caesari’s work…..

  • Rafael Enrique Irizarry says:

    The pitch of this Puccini excerpt is so high it distorts tempo and vocal quality. It almost sounds in the wrong key and even makes the orchestra sound unpleasant.

    …and these self-proclaimed experts in vocal technique: where do they get off? “Unmusical yelling?” What is going on here? What is this?

    • BRUCEB says:

      If you’re an opera fan, surely you are familiar with self-proclaimed experts in vocal technique.

      Fasch, messa di voce, CHEST VOICE, passagio, tessitura… so many fancy words to make yourself sound impressive. It can be very rewarding.

  • Wurm says:

    He was the very definition of a ‘can belto’ tenor, rather than a bel canto one. Dennis O’Neill was in the same mould. That said, some of Corelli’s Bellini wasn’t bad.

  • Tom Phillips says:

    A virile thrilling voice. If only he had also made some attempt to ACT when he sang a costumed role onstage instead of merely relying on his height and good looks.

  • fred says:

    He, Del Monaco, Bergonzi, Di Stefano and Bjoerling (and Lanza) reigned supreme, no one ever since came close to them at their best.

  • Just a member of the audience says:

    Quibble all you want to, but a Corelli performance was an EVENT (as was Vickers, Pavarotti, Price, Callas, Sills, among others).