Mar 4, 2008

"Vesti la giubba", Pippo has left

Giuseppe di Stefano
July 24, 1921 - March 3, 2008

It's on a very sad note that my day has just begun.
Giuseppe Di Stefano was not only a great tenor, he was also Pippo, this Sicilian fellowman born in the western suburbs of Catania, in Motta Santa Anastasia, on the piana di Catania, a place where you are constantly reminded of how small you really are, compared to the giant Etna just miles away.

Though he and his family moved early on (he was 6) to Milan where he pursued both musical and theological studies, he was always proud of his blood and remains for me a great example of the spirit of Sicilians; when face with adversity (in his case WWII and being a POW in Germany for 3 years), never lose hope in the future and faith in the present.

That's why, for me, Pippo is much more than the great tenor that started in the fifties and was a recurrent partner of Maria Callas.
That's why this morning, only these words from Leoncavallo's Pagliacci come to mind to describe my feelings: "Ridi del duol, che t'avvelena il cor!" [Laugh of the pain, that poisons your heart!].

Addio Pippo.


- Giuseppe di Stefano, a Tenor Whose Career Flamed Out Too Early, Is Dead at 86, Jonathan Kandell for the NY Times
- Giuseppe di Stefano, Alan Blyth for The Guardian
- Giuseppe Di Stefano, Operatic tenor blessed with a voice of unforgettable, golden plangency, The Times
- Giuseppe Di Stefano, celebrated Italian tenor, dies at 86, AP
- Le ténor italien Giuseppe Di Stefano est décédé, AP

Selected YouTube extracts:

- "Vesti la giubba", from Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, 1955 audio recording , Tullio Serafin conducting il orchestra del Teatro alla Scala
- "Sicilia Bedda", when the voice of Pippo combines with some pictures of that Sicilia Bedda (beautiful Sicily)
- "Je crois entendre encore", romance de Nadir from Les Pêcheurs de Perles (Italian version)

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