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Monday, March 3, 2008

Because High Art marks the cultural health of a society

Celebrated Tenor Di Stefano Dies at 86
Monday, March 03, 2008 2:20:26 PM

Giuseppe Di Stefano, one of the greatest tenors of the 20th century and a celebrated singing partner of Maria Callas, died Monday. He was 86.

Di Stefano died at home in Santa Maria Hoe, north of Milan, from injuries sustained in an attack at his family's villa in Kenya in November 2004, wife Monika Curth said.

The retired tenor had been incapacitated since unidentified assailants struck him on the head during the attack at his house in Diani, Kenya, she said.

Di Stefano, born in Sicily in 1921, made his debut in 1946 in the northern city of Reggio Emilia with Massenet's "Manon," and went on to sing at the world's top opera
houses, including Milan's La Scala, New York's Metropolitan, and in Vienna and Berlin.

His last performance was in Rome in 1992.

Known for his powerful voice, Di Stefano also is remembered for his duets with Callas, who performed and recorded with him several times in the 1950s through her final tour in 1973.

At the Met, Di Stefano sang in 112 performances, making his debut as the Duke in Verdi's "Rigoletto" on Feb. 25, 1948, and his finale in the title role of Offenbach's "Les Contes des Hoffmann" on Jan. 27, 1965.

Di Stefano will be buried in Santa Maria Hoe after a funeral Wednesday, his wife said.

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