|Year of Birth:||1926|
|Year of Death:||2005|
Piero Cappuccilli (November 9, 1926 – July 11, 2005) was an Italian operatic baritone. Best known for his interpretations of Verdi roles, he was widely regarded as one of the finest Italian baritones of the second half of the 20th century. He was enormously admired within the field of opera for his rich and abundant voice, fine vocal technique and exceptional breath control. In the great Italian tradition he fused words and music into elegant phrases. He focused on Italian repertory, particularly the operas of Verdi, singing 17 major roles.
Born in Trieste, Cappuccilli originally intended to become an architect. He auditioned at a local opera house in 1949, where Luciano Donaggio (a retired singer beginning a second career as a teacher) heard him and urged him to study. Cappuccilli was still reluctant, believing he had a better potential career as an architect, and even briefly discontinued his lessons, until Donnaggio's urging and the offer of free lessons persuaded him to resume studies in 1950. He studied with Luciano Donaggio in his native city. After encouragement from relatives he decided to pursue a career in opera and made his stage debut there in 1951, singing small parts.
In 1955, Cappuccilli auditioned for La Scala in Milan, where the auditioners, deeply impressed, encouraged him to enter the Viotti competition. After his first place award, he made his official operatic debut in 1957 at the Teatro Nuovo in Milan, singing Tonio in Pagliacci. In 1960, he made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera, singing Giorgio Germont in La traviata, which was to be his only performance at the Met.