As a tribute to Franco's birthday, April 8, 2014 we proudly present the second of a series of special downloads that we have been preparing over the last year.


We celebrate Franco's birthday with the 2CD length MP3 Download of Guido Guerrini's opera Enea, which was created by Franco Corelli on March 11, 1953. Unfortunately, no recordings of the World Premiere performances ever surfaced, but as mentioned in Franco Corelli Prince of Tenors there is at least a chance to sample the music as such, through a later radio broadcast that dates back to 1960.


Today, on Franco's birthday, April 8, 2013 we proudly present the first of a series of special downloads that we have been preparing over the last year.

We celebrate Franco's birthday with the 2CD/MP3 Download issue 'An Ardent Lesson', which deals with the beginnings of Corelli's career, precisely with his studies with Arturo Melocchi. In the wake of writing Prince of Tenors, I was given a copy of a voice lesson that Arturo Melocchi gave to the tenor Gastone Limarilli, presumably around 1958.


On Thursday, January 10, 2013, at 2 AM, Loretta Corelli, widow of our beloved hero Franco Corelli passed away in Milan. She died of respiratory problems due to a bronchitis she had contracted. The funeral ceremony was held on Saturday, January 12, at noon, in Milan. The cremation will take place in the next days. There upon her ashes will be placed in Franco’s sarcophagus in Milan.

We pay our respects to a lady that I genuinely liked, after having visited her several times over the past decade. I will see to it that her memory will eventually also get a worthy place on this website, career wise (she was a soprano in her own right), as a person and as the wife and vocal coach of Franco.

We pay our respects to Loretta’s family, to Graziano, Marco and Francesca Corelli, and all those who were close to Loretta.

We post this In Memoriam at the request of Franco's family, after they informed us of the sad occasion.

The thrill of Franco Corelli

  • Don Carlo
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  • Don Carlo, Vienna 1963
  • Tosca (With Maria Callas)
  • 1958 Forza (Napoli)
  • Eracle
  • 1957 Norma (Verona)
  • 1958 Pirata (Scala)
  • 1957 Tosca
  • 1952 Romeo (Rome)
  • 1941 Mantua
  • 1964 Don Carlos
  • Franco - age 5
  • 1954 Vestale (Scala)
  • 1962 Otello (Philadelphia)
  • 1960 shaves
  • 1961 Jump
  • 1962 Corelli Enzo Gromaldi
  • 1959 Adriana Rehearsal (Napoli)
  • 1966 Gioconda
  • 1968 Maurizio in Adriana Lecouvreur

As I once wrote in the Dutch Music Magazine Luister, one may compare opera with religion. Both have believers in various Gods,and using only Christianity as an example, there is a striking parallel between BC and AD. The watershed year in opera is 1837, when Gilbert Louis Duprez gave the world 'Il Do di petto' – the high C from the chest. Ever since, tenors have reigned in the operas of Donizetti, Verdi and Puccini. However, along with their enhanced status, their worries also increased. Ever since Duprez, it was 'all or nothing', especially for the rare breed of dramatic tenors in Italian opera, of whom only a handful have truly succeeded in the last 170 years. After Duprez, perhaps only Francesco Tamagno, Giovanni Zenatello, Giacomo Lauri-Volpi, Mario del Monaco and Franco Corelli whose throne has been vacant since he gave up the stage in 1975 (except for some brief returns in 1976 and 1981).

As within any religion, some might argue about the latter statement, saying that later Gods like Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo or even the young José Carreras made very successful recordings of Corelli's hallmark operatic roles from Calaf in Turandot to Manrico in Il trovatore.


Prince of Tenors | The decisive Corelli biography

Prince of Tenors recreates Corelli's life as closely as possible, for better or worse. The audience is taken along on a ride to Ancona where Corelli was born. His mother Natalina, his father Remo, his sister Liliana and his wild, exciting & very sympathetic brother Ubaldo "Bibi" will be brought to life, as Dario "Franco" Corelli was a family man from the start. And then, on a beautiful spring day, we will literally see him fall desperately in love, until his true muse finally claims him. While reading the book you should imagine him singing Gino Bechi's ‘Una strada nell'bosco’ as he did as a youth when he began to test his voice. But the story is not all about singing alone, far from it. Prince of Tenors also takes you to the campfires of his teenage years, and you'll be peeking over his shoulders when he enters military service, and after his discharge, you'll see how he made ends meet through the war, repairing bicycles. At the war's conclusion, you will be liberated along with Corelli and the rest of Italy; this liberation brought about Corelli's first public concert! You'll look in on Corelli's work in the municipality, follow his first serious efforts to sing, including his first recording session, all of which occurred before he ever set foot on a stage. His pre-career story runs at least fifty pages, complete with pictures that illustrate the text throughout.


Although another comprimario role, Giannetta appears on stage in large parts of the opera, and we have cut out for you all significant parts, provided here along with her passages in the libretto.
Loretta Di Lelio as Giannetta in L’elisir d’amore

In Lucia di Lammermoor, Loretta Di Lelio has perhaps a minor part in vocal terms, but as Lucia’s fisrst maid, she practically accompanies the Lady of Lammermoor all through the opera.
Loretta Di Lelio in Lucia di Lammermoor (1946)

Loretta Di Lelio appeared as Xenia in Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov broadcast of December 10, 1952, just 4 days before Franco Corelli’s role debut.
Loretta Di Lelio as Xenia in Boris Godunov

An ardent lesson

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After having been expelled from class at the Pesaro Conservatory, because he couldn’t attend lessons due to the fact that he had to attend classes in the Bologna University, where he studied to become a surveyor, Franco went looking for formal training closer to home. Because of his daytime obligations, he ended up with a renowned soprano in Ancona, who, then post career, gave private lessons: Rinalda Pavoni. When this failed to have the required result, Franco turned to his friend, the baritone Carlo Scaravelli, who had previously urged him to attend the Conservatory. Scaravelli suggested Franco to consult his own current teacher at the Pesaro Conservatory: Arturo Melocchi.