Can Belto

On the art of singing and those who practice it…

Giorgio Tozzi Remembered

A dear friend of mine who wishes to remain anonymous, let’s call him LeporBBello,  just sent me this remembrance. It is so beautifully written that I want to share it with you. Whatever I could say about Maestro, it all pales in the face of  the remembrance of someone who was in his presence on a daily basis.

Take it over LeporBBello:

Giorgio Tozzi was one of the most beautiful artistic flowers to bloom out of the social desert created by two world wars and the Great Depression. He sang originally out of necessity to feed his parents and family, and became operatic legend. He was a true “American” artist, living in popular medium as comfortably as the grandest operatic repertoire. Due to an injury two years into his  twenty year Met career, he needed to perceive pitch by “feel” rather than by it’s sound, making his considerable artistic accomplishments even more inconceivable.

There are few artists in whom one can hear as much pure humanity in the sound – he was a man born to communicate. To spend a moment with this man was to be forever changed, and he will be greatly missed by everyone who ever met him.

Giorgio loved music. He loved the human form, and depictions of it in photographs and painting. Giorgio hated liberalism with a passion, and loved to talk about it. He loved his mother and father. Giorgio loved his wife Monte deeply and rarely let his frustration over her own declining health show. He loved his children and grandchildren, and spoke of them with great pride.

Giorgio loved to write, and did so as cleverly as he spoke. Giorgio had a temper. He loved gadgets – his home office was cluttered with computers he had grown tired of, surrounded by digital cameras. He loved American Musical Theater, and hated the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Giorgio wasn’t a drinker, but loved a “Manhattan Cocktail with Canadian Club”. Giorgio had no uvula – it had been removed by a doctor in his youth, along with his tonsils…he didn’t know why. Giorgio hated cd reissues of his recordings. He preferred the mono version of his Figaro. Giorgio hated getting old and wasn’t afraid to say it. Giorgio told the best stories and made even corny jokes funny.

Being a singer who knows Giorgio Tozzi meant that you knew you could do it – you knew you could do it because he did it, and you were just like him…and you knew this because he told you so every time he saw you. There was no more positive man towards a young singer than this man – you felt this positivity until you opened up one of his recordings and actually tried to imitate what he was able to do. His legato was unparalleled, his diction was flawless, his sound was warm and uniquely human, and his stage acting was natural and deeply moving before it was a necessary goal of an operatic artist. He was an unusually humble man, particularly considering his amazing gifts.

For my part, today I lost something with no definition or descriptive words. Father, mentor, friend…role model?…forget these silly words we use to describe ordinary people – Giorgio Tozzi is otherworldly. He lives on in every person he touched and continues to touch in his peerless recordings, the numerous artists who were able to receive his message in person as pupils, and in the hearts of those fortunate enough to witness his artistry in person.

Giorgio was a genuine gentleman, and I am proud to have been his friend.


This was the man within the legend and the reason so many mourn his passing today


May 31, 2011 - Posted by | In memoriam


  1. I would love to know who wrote this, because it expresses and reveals every feeling I have about my teacher, the great Giorgio Tozzi. I have wanted to write something formal to describe the impression he left on me and everyone he met, but I feel no need to do so after reading this beautiful tribute–LeporBBello, whoever that is, has written it exactly and lovingly. Thank you, and I hope to meet LeporBBello someday and share Tozzi stories.

    Comment by Branch | June 2, 2011 | Reply

  2. I was very lucky to be in the MET for one of his performances as Hans Sachs in 1968. The sound just flooded out of him effortlessly, and a most beautiful sound it was.


    Comment by Will | June 16, 2011 | Reply

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