|Year of Birth:||1923|
|Year of Death:||2010|
Cesare Siepi (10 February 1923 – 5 July 2010) was an Italian opera singer, generally considered to have been one of the finest basses of the post-war period. His voice was characterised by a deep, warm timbre, a full, resonant, wide-ranging lower register with relaxed vibrato, and a ringing, vibrant upper register. Although renowned as a Verdian bass, his tall, striking presence and the elegance of phrasing made him a natural for the role of Don Giovanni. He can be seen in that role on a famous 1954 film of the opera made during an edition of the Salzburg Festival under the baton of Wilhelm Furtwängler.
Born in Milan (his year of birth is debated between 1919 and 1923, though 1923 is given as official), he began singing as a member of a madrigal group. He often claimed to have been largely self-taught, having attended the music conservatory in his home city for just a short time. His operatic career was interrupted by World War II. After his debut in 1941 (in Schio, near Venice, as Sparafucile in Rigoletto), Siepi, an opponent of the fascist regime, fled to Switzerland.
After the end of the war his career immediately took off. Success as Zaccaria in Nabucco at La Fenice in Venice was followed by the first of many engagements at La Scala, Milan. His early engagements there were in the Verdi bass roles, the title role in Boito's Mefistofele under Arturo Toscanini, as Colline in La bohème, and in La Gioconda, La favorite, and I puritani.