|Year of Birth:||1921|
|Year of Death:||2008|
Giuseppe Di Stefano (24 July 1921 – 3 March 2008) was an Italian operatic tenor, one of the most beautiful voices who sang professionally from the mid 1940s until the early 1990s, although there was a sharp decline in his, until then extraordinary, vocal powers during the early 1960s. Called Pippo by both fans and friends, he was known as the "Golden voice" or "The most beautiful voice", as the true successor of Beniamino Gigli.Luciano Pavarotti said he modeled himself after Di Stefano. In an interview Pavarotti said "Di Stefano is my idol. There is a solar voice...It was the most incredible, open voice you could hear. The musicality of di Stefano is as natural and beautiful as the voice is phenomenal". Di Stefano was also the tenor who most inspired José Carreras.
Giuseppe Di Stefano was born in Motta Sant'Anastasia, a village near Catania, Sicily, in 1921. He was the only son of a carabiniere turned cobbler and his dressmaker wife. Di Stefano was educated at a Jesuit seminary and briefly contemplated entering the priesthood.
After serving in the Italian military (and briefly taking lessons from the Swiss tenor Hugues Cuénod), Di Stefano made his operatic debut in 1946 in Reggio Emilia as Des Grieux in Massenet's Manon, the role in which he made his La Scala debut the following year. He made his New York debut at the Metropolitan Opera in February 1948 as the Duke of Mantua in Verdi's Rigoletto after singing the role in Riccione with Hjördis Schymberg in August of the previous year. After his performance in Manon a month later, Musical America wrote that Di Stefano "had the rich velvety sound we have seldom heard since the days of Gigli". He went on to perform regularly in New York for many years. In 1957, Di Stefano made his British debut at the Edinburgh Festival as Nemorino in L'elisir d'amore and his Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, debut in 1961, as Cavaradossi in Tosca.