Franco Corelli Cause of Death: The End of a Legendary Tenor

Franco Corelli, one of the most celebrated tenors of the 20th century, passed away on October 29, 2003, at the age of 82. He had been hospitalized in August following what was believed to be a stroke. His death marked the end of an illustrious career that spanned over 25 years and enchanted opera fans around the world with his powerful voice, charismatic presence, and handsome features.

Franco Corelli: A Brief Biography

Franco Corelli was born on April 8, 1921, in Ancona, Italy. He came from a family with some musical background, as his paternal grandfather and older brother were both singers. He initially studied naval engineering at the University of Bologna, but decided to pursue a singing career after entering a music competition on a dare. He taught himself by listening to recordings of great tenors like Enrico Caruso, Giacomo Lauri-Volpi, and Beniamino Gigli. He also learned from a friend who was a student of Arturo Melocchi, the voice teacher of Mario Del Monaco. He modified Melocchi’s technique of lowering the larynx to suit his own vocal needs and preferences.

He made his opera debut in 1951 as Don Jose in Bizet’s Carmen at Spoleto. He quickly rose to fame and sang in major opera houses in Italy and abroad. He had a long and fruitful partnership with the Metropolitan Opera in New York, where he sang 368 performances between 1961 and 1975. He also performed with legendary sopranos like Maria Callas, Renata Tebaldi, Birgit Nilsson, and Joan Sutherland. He was known for his versatility and mastery of the spinto and dramatic tenor roles of the Italian repertoire, such as Cavaradossi in Puccini’s Tosca, Manrico in Verdi’s Il Trovatore, Radames in Verdi’s Aida, and Calaf in Puccini’s Turandot. He was also admired for his expressive singing, electrifying top notes, clear timbre, and passionate interpretation. He was dubbed the “prince of tenors” and had a loyal fan base that cheered and applauded his performances.

He retired from the stage in 1976, although he occasionally gave concerts and masterclasses. He lived a quiet life with his wife, the singer Loretta Di Lelio, in Milan. He received several honors and awards for his contribution to opera, including the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic and the Opera News Award.

Franco Corelli Cause of Death: What Happened?

According to Billboard, Franco Corelli died on October 29, 2003, at a Milan hospital. He had been suffering from heart problems and had been hospitalized in August after having an apparent stroke. His death was announced by La Scala’s press office, which expressed its sorrow and gratitude for his legacy. His former colleagues and admirers also paid tribute to him and praised his talent and personality. Carlo Bergonzi, another renowned tenor, said: “We have lost one of the greatest tenors of the world. One of the greatest tenors of the century. He was the most serious of his profession, and he was a great interpreter who made great sacrifices for his career.”

Franco Corelli’s funeral was held on November 1, 2003, at the Basilica of Sant’Eustorgio in Milan. His body was then cremated and his ashes were scattered in the Adriatic Sea, near his hometown of Ancona. He is survived by his wife, Loretta Di Lelio, who said: “He was a great artist, but above all a great man. He loved life, nature, animals, and music. He was always generous and kind with everyone. He was my husband, my friend, my companion, my everything.”

Franco Corelli’s death was a sad loss for the opera world and for his fans, who will always remember him as one of the most brilliant and captivating tenors of all time. His voice and his art will live on in his recordings and in the memories of those who had the privilege of hearing him sing. He was truly a legend.