Franco Lo Giudice

Franco Lo Giudice

Italian tenor
Date of Birth: 14.03.1893
Country: USA

Biography of Franco Lo Giudice

Franco Lo Giudice was an Italian tenor who had a successful international career on the opera stage during the first half of the 20th century. Known for his strong voice and passionate temperament, he was an exceptional performer of the works of Italian composer Riccardo Zandonai, particularly singing in the world premieres of his operas "I cavalieri di Ekebù" (1925) and "Giuliano" (1928). Additionally, Lo Giudice excelled in verismo operas. Recordings of his voice have been preserved thanks to studios such as HMV, Parlophone, and Pathé.

Franco Lo Giudice was born on March 14, 1893, in Paternò. He was the older brother of tenor Silvio Costa Lo Giudice and a distant relative of Portuguese soprano Maria Giudice. Lo Giudice studied singing under renowned teacher and composer Beniamino Carelli at the San Pietro a Majella Conservatory in Naples, Matteo Aderno in Catania, Sicily, and several other teachers in Milan. In 1914, he had to interrupt his studies when he was drafted into the army due to the outbreak of World War I. During this time, Lo Giudice performed in concerts for Italian soldiers. After his demobilization, Franco continued his vocal studies and made his professional debut in 1919 as Gastone in "La traviata" at the opera theater in Livorno. In 1920, he portrayed Dick Johnson in Giacomo Puccini's "La fanciulla del West" in Tortona. In 1922, Franco made his debut at the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, in the Neapolitan premiere of the opera "Boris Godunov," playing the role of Prince Shuysky. That same year, he triumphed at the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, performing the lead role in Umberto Giordano's "Andrea Chénier." In 1922-1923, the tenor appeared multiple times in Catania, including as Gastone in "La traviata," Edgardo in "Lucia di Lammermoor," and Turiddu in "Cavalleria rusticana." In 1924, Lo Giudice debuted at the Teatro Regio in Turin as Romeo in Zandonai's "Giulietta e Romeo." He returned to this theater several times over the next decade, performing roles such as Giannetto Malaspini in "La cena delle beffe" and Pollione in "Norma."

On March 7, 1925, Lo Giudice made his debut at Milan's La Scala, singing the role of Giosta Berling in the world premiere of Zandonai's opera "I cavalieri di Ekebù" under the direction of conductor Arturo Toscanini. Toscanini was highly impressed with Franco's work, and they frequently collaborated until the mid-1930s. In 1926, Lo Giudice alternated with tenor Miguel Fleta in the role of Prince Calàf in the original production of Puccini's "Turandot," although Fleta had the honor of singing Calàf on the premiere evening. Among his other roles at La Scala were Avito in "L'amore dei tre re," Dick Johnson, Giannetto Malaspini, and Giuseppe Hagenbach in "La Wally."

In November 1925, Lo Giudice first performed at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna as Giannetto Malaspini. He returned two years later as Matteo in Zandonai's "Conchita" and in 1928 sang Dick Johnson. In 1926, he debuted at the Arena di Verona Festival, and in 1927, he performed as Prince Calàf at the Teatro Regio in Parma. In the same year, he portrayed Nerone in Arrigo Boito's opera at the Teatro di San Carlo and a year later, he sang the lead role in the world premiere of Zandonai's "Giuliano" at the same theater. Additionally, he frequently returned to the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma.

Lo Giudice performed internationally in theaters in Hungary, Brazil, and Chile during the 1920s and early 1930s. In 1925, he sang Pinkerton in "Madama Butterfly" at the Royal Opera in London. Until the mid-1940s, the tenor continued to perform in Italy, and one of his last performances was as Andrea Chénier at the Teatro Verdi in Florence in 1944.

After retiring from the stage, Lo Giudice taught voice at the Istituto Musicale Vincenzo Bellini in Catania. He passed away there on August 8, 1990, at the age of 97.

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