Anselmo Colzani

Anselmo Colzani

Italian opera singer-baritone
Date of Birth: 28.09.1918
Country: Italy

  1. Biography of Anselmo Colzani
  2. Early Life and Career
  3. International Success
  4. Metropolitan Opera and Later Career

Biography of Anselmo Colzani

Early Life and Career

Anselmo Colzani was born on March 28, 1918, in Budrio, near Bologna, Italy, into a family of talented amateur musicians. His parents encouraged Anselmo to pursue music from a young age, but it took several years for him to take it seriously. In 1936, at the age of 17, Colzani joined the Italian army and served during World War II. Towards the end of the war, he finally began serious training under the guidance of Corrado Zambelli in Bologna. Colzani made his stage debut in 1947 at the Teatro Comunale Bologna, playing roles in Wagner's "Lohengrin" alongside Renata Tebaldi.

International Success

Colzani's career took off in 1952 when he made his debut at La Scala in Milan as Alfio in Mascagni's "Cavalleria rusticana". He found success in many other iconic operas, including Giordano's "Fedora", Bizet's "Carmen", Puccini's "La bohème", and more. He participated in the premiere of Darius Milhaud's "David" in 1955 and performed alongside Maria Callas in Gluck's "Iphigénie en Tauride" in 1957. Colzani's powerful and impressive performances earned him a reputation as a formidable operatic baritone.

Outside of Italy, Colzani achieved recognition in many opera houses throughout Europe and the United States. He performed in Lisbon's Teatro Nacional Sao Carlos in 1955 and made his American debut at the San Francisco Opera in 1956. In 1957, he debuted at the Vienna State Opera as Iago in Verdi's "Otello". Colzani continued to perform in various opera houses, including the Monte Carlo Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Houston Grand Opera.

Metropolitan Opera and Later Career

In March 1960, Colzani received an invitation from the general manager of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City to replace the late Leonard Warren on short notice during a performance of Verdi's "La forza del destino". He made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera on April 7, 1960, singing the leading role in Verdi's "Simon Boccanegra" alongside renowned singers Renata Tebaldi, Richard Tucker, Jerome Hines, and Dimitri Mitropoulos. Colzani would go on to perform over 40 times as Scarpia in Puccini's "Tosca" at the Metropolitan Opera, sharing the stage with illustrious performers such as Renata Tebaldi, Birgit Nilsson, Leontyne Price, and Montserrat Caballé. His final appearance at the Metropolitan Opera took place on February 16, 1978, in "Adriana Lecouvreur" with Montserrat Caballé.

After leaving the Metropolitan Opera, Colzani continued to perform for two more years, ending his career in 1980 with his signature role as Baron Scarpia in Rome. He returned to Milan and passed away on March 19, 2006, after a prolonged illness. In his later years, Colzani focused on his family, having two daughters, Bianca and Miriam, from his first marriage. He was married to his second wife, Ada, for over 50 years.

In 2002, the town of Budrio, Colzani's birthplace, established an annual international opera competition named in his honor.