Life and career
He quickly established himself as the leading dramatic baritone of his time, in roles such as Rigoletto, Count de Luna, Renato, Carlo, Amonasro, Alfio, Gérard, but was also admired as Figaro and Hamlet.
Bechi sang relatively little outside Italy, but did appear in England and North and South America in the late 1950s, but by then he was past his best.
In his prime, Bechi possessed a dark and incisive voice and was a fine singing actor. He can be heard in a number of early recordings, opposite Beniamino Gigli, such as Un ballo in maschera, Aida, Andrea Chénier, and Cavalleria rusticana, conducted by Pietro Mascagni himself. He also recorded Il barbiere di Siviglia. Also available is a pirate recording of Nabucco, with Maria Callas, from 1949, and the Prologue from Pagliacci.
Bechi retired from the stage in 1965, and taught in Siena. He died in Florence in 1993.
Le guide de l'opera, les indispensables de la musique, R. Mancini & J-J. Rouvereux, (Fayard, 1986), ISBN 2-213-01563-5