|Year of Birth:||1921|
|Year of Death:||2003|
Franco Corelli (8 April 1921 – 29 October 2003) was an Italian tenor who had a major international opera career between 1951 and 1976. Associated in particular with the spinto and dramatic tenor roles of the Italian repertory, he was celebrated universally for his powerhouse voice, electrifying top notes, clear timbre, passionate singing and remarkable performances. Dubbed the "prince of tenors", Corelli possessed handsome features and a charismatic stage presence which endeared him to audiences. He had a long and fruitful partnership with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City between 1961 and 1975. He also appeared on the stages of most of the major opera houses in Europe and with opera companies throughout North America.
Corelli was born Dario Franco Corelli in Ancona into a family many have thought to have little or no musical background. While his parents were not particularly musical, his paternal grandfather Augusto had actually quit working at 35 to establish a successful career as an operatic tenor. His older brother Aldo subsequently quit school to become an operatic baritone, and two of his uncles sang in the Teatro delle Muse chorus in Ancona. His father was a shipbuilder for the Italian navy and the family lived along the Adriatic Sea. Corelli loved the sea and initially decided to follow in the footsteps of his father by pursuing a degree in naval engineering at the University of Bologna. While studying there he entered a music competition under the dare of a friend who was an amateur singer. While he did not win the competition, he was encouraged by the judges to pursue a singing career and Corelli entered the Pesaro Conservatory of Music to study opera.