Nine days after being in a Coma the great tenor Salvatore Licitra dies at the age of 42. Licitra suffered serious injuries to his head and chest in a road accident while on a scooter in Sicily, Italia. The Swiss Tenor was not wearing a helmet and suffered a brain hemorrhage. This morning the doctors proclaimed him brain dead and his family gave permission to donate his organs.
Licitra was the prime example of a great spinto tenor. One only need listen to his gorgeous "Ah si ben mio" from Il Trovatore. Most tenors, in preparation for the force demanded in "Di Quella Pira," tend to bark their way through the delicate and poetic "Ah Si Ben Mio." Not Licitra. His great talent was to combine finesse and elegance of line with passion in not only Verdi's operas, but in all the spinto repertoire that he conquered. His international career took off after replacing an ill Pavarotti in Tosca at the Met in 2002. After that he became a household name in at the Met and throughout the international theaters. He became a favorite of the great conductors such as Riccardo Muti who handpicked him for the first Trovatore at La Scala in 22 years. He would also perform La Forza del Destino, Tosca, and Un Ballo in Maschera amongst others under the great conductor. The great Renata Tebaldi, upon hearing him perform, once stated that "he was a real tenor who fills the Hall."
Salvatore Licitra was to sing Ernani this year at the Met but cancelled without any explanation. Thankfully Licitra gave some of the most memorable performances with an extensive repertoire that included Tosca, Aida, Un Ballo in Maschera, Il Tabarro, La Forza del Destino, Turandot, Pagliacci. I am happy to have experienced this great tenor's art in Aida, Pagliacci, Il Tabbarro and La Forza del Destino.
Licitra will be remembered for his charisma, his joy, and love for music. He was truly a captivating and engrossing artist.
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