Beniamino Gigli

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Gigli, Beniamino

(bānyämē`nō jē`lyē), 1890–1957, Italian tenor. He made his debut (1914) at Rovigo, Italy, as Enzo in La Gioconda. At the Metropolitan Opera, New York City, he was a leading tenor in French and Italian operas from 1920 to 1932. After guest appearances there in the season of 1938–39, he returned to Italy.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Gigli, Beniamino


Born Mar. 20, 1890, in Recanati; died Nov. 30, 1957, in Rome. Italian singer (tenor).

Gigli studied voice with A. Cotogni and E. Rosati at the Academy of St. Cecilia in Rome. He made his operatic debut in 1914 in Rovigo, after which he performed in the theaters of many Italian cities. From 1920 to 1932, he was a soloist at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. He toured many countries of the world with great success. In 1954, Gigli left the operatic stage and began performing in concerts. He was an out-standing opera singer and a major representative of bel canto. His voice was rare owing to the beauty of its timbre. His performances were distinguished by uncommon spontaneity, brilliant vocal skill, and subtle melodiousness. Gigliïs best parts were Nemorino in DonizettiïsL’Elisir d’Amore, Lionel in Flotow’s Martha, des Grieux in Massenet’s Manon, Lohengrin in Wagner’s opera of the same name, Radames in Verdïs Aïda, Cavaradossi in Puccinïs Tosca, Canio in Leoncavallo’s / Pagliacci, and Turiddu in Mascagniïs Cavalleria Rusticana. Gigli appeared in many musical films.


Memorie. [Milan, 1957.] In Russian translation: Vospominaniia, 2nd ed. Moscow-Leningrad, 1967.


Silvestrini, D. B. Gigli. Bologna, 1937.
Herbert-Caesari, E. Tradition and Gigli. London, 1958.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.