Hailed as Luciano Pavarotti's successor, the extraordinary Italian tenor Salvatore Licitra had his American debut in November 2001 when he performed at the Richard Tucker Foundation Gala. Critics were deeply impressed by Licitra's singing and praised his rich, spacious voice and flawless, reassuring technique. An even greater triumph for Licitra was his Metropolitan Opera debut in May 2002. On May 11, 2002, Licitra, whose Met debut had originally been scheduled for the the 2004-2005 season, replaced the indisposed Pavarotti in Puccini's Tosca. Not only did Licitra charm the audience in his role as Cavaradossi, but he also elicited rave critical reviews. In general, critics noted Licitra's visceral power, further commenting on the singer's remarkable ability to tame his volcanic energy, so the speak, in moments of exquisite finesse. When Licitra was 18, his mother heard him imitate a singer on the radio. Instantly realizing her son's immense talent, she urged him to study singing. Initially, his studies were not auspicious; it was not until he started working with legendary tenor Carlo Bergonzi that Licitra made his first steps toward an operatic career. Having appeared in a number of small roles throughout Italy, he triumphed as Gustavo in Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera in Verona in 1998. Encouraged, Licitra auditioned for La Scala, securing a role in Verdi's La Forza del Destino, and consequently sang in a number of La Scala productions worldwide. As Manrico in an Il Trovatore production during the 2000-2001 season, Licitra was part of La Scala's celebration of the centennial of Verdi's death. In 2000, Licitra made his first Sony Classical recording singing music by Bizet and Puccini on the soundtrack for Sally Potter's film The Man Who Cried. Licitra's promising career was cut short when he died in September 2011 following a moped accident in Sicily.