René Seghers: Franco Corelli - Prince of tenors
Franco Corelli - Prince of tenors
His exceptional good looks made him a matinee idol, and Franco Corelli - the Prince of Tenors - was dubbed "Mr. Soldout" for 20 consecutive years. In 1958, just seven years after beginning his career, he was already the highest-paid tenor in Italy. Following his Met debut in 1961, he was celebrated as the greatest tenor in the world, a position that he retained until his departure from the Met in 1975.
His charismatic performances in such operas as La Vestale and Fedora (both in collaboration with Maria Callas), coupled with a formidable mystique, as well as a number of notorious and colorful incidents, including his real-life sword fight with Boris Christoff in Rome, the Callas walkout there, the beating up of a spectator in Naples, and the alleged biting of Birgit Nilsson on a Boston tour of Turandot, created a mania for Corelli.
Nearly a decade in the making, this definitive biography is based on the author's extensive research of theater archives and interviews with the opera star's numerous friends, family members, colleagues (Nilsson, Pavarotti, and many others), as well as the management of some of the world's leading opera houses.