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Francesco Merli 1887-1976, was a a leading tenor of the world stage in the twenties and thirties, He made his debut at la Scala in 1916. He had a perfectly tuned dark heroic tenor voice, innate musicality, clear diction and aristocratic style. He excelled in the heavier roles such as Radames, Otello, Calaf, Andrea Chenier and Manrico. But never indulged in heavy verismo mannerisms. Indeed some may find his Canio, for example, to be too much of a gentleman.