Gino Bechi

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Gino Bechi


• 1913 1993


Bechi was one of the leading Verdian performers in Italy during his prime, appearing in nearly all the lyric and dramatic baritone roles as well as verismo and occasional bel canto roles and several world premieres, acclaimed both for his voice and for his powerful acting. He appeared in several films, typically light romantic comedies such as Una voce nel tuo cuore, Pronto, chi parla, Amanti in fuga, and Il segreto di Don Giovanni, most of which were successfully released in the United States. He studied voice in his native Florence, chiefly under Raul Frazzi, who urged him to take Titta Ruffo as a model. He made his debut in 1936 at Empoli as Germont pere in Verdi's La traviata. His Rome debut came two years later, followed by his La Scala debut as Don Carlo in Verdi's La forza del destino. He was soon a favorite and regular at both houses, starring in the world premiere of Rocca's Monte Ivnor in Rome and in Verdi's Nabucco when La Scala reopened in 1946 after World War II. His career was almost entirely in Italy, though he made his London debut at Covent Garden in 1950 as part of the La Scala tour and continued to sing there until 1953, and he also appeared in North and South America. By that time, however, his voice was showing significant signs of wear, which he attempted to mask by mannerisms and overemphasis. He retired in 1961, privately teaching students.