|Year of Birth:||1924|
|Year of Death:||2014|
Carlo Bergonzi (13 July 1924 – 25 July 2014) was an Italian operatic tenor. Although he performed and recorded some bel canto and verismo roles, he was above all associated with the operas of Giuseppe Verdi, including a large number of the composer's lesser known works that he helped revive. Additionally, he sang more than forty other roles throughout his career. Bergonzi is considered one of the 20th century’s most distinguished operatic tenors.
Bergonzi was born in Polesine Parmense, near Parma in Northern Italy, on 13 July 1924. He was an only child. He later claimed he saw his first opera, Verdi’s Il trovatore, when he was six years old. He sang in church, and soon he began to appear in children's opera roles in Busseto, a nearby town. After he left school at age 11 he began working in a Parma cheese factory. His father worked there too, and Carlo often got into trouble for singing.
At the age of 16, he began his vocal studies as a baritone at Arrigo Boito Conservatory in Parma with Maestro Ettore Campogalliani.
During World War II, Bergonzi became involved in anti-Nazi activities and was interned in a German prisoner-of-war camp in 1943. Two years later, he was freed by the Russians and walked 106 km in order to reach an American camp. However, while on his way, he drank unboiled water and contracted typhoid fever, from which he recovered within a year. After the war he returned to the Arrigo Boito Conservatory in Parma, weighing just over 36 kilograms (80 pounds).