Luigi Infantino

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Luigi Infantino (Italian: [luˈiːdʒi iɱfanˈtiːno]; 24 April 1921, Racalmuto – 22 June 1991, Rome) was an Italian operatic tenor, particularly associated with the lyric Italian and French repertories.

Luigi Infantino studied at the Parma Conservatory with Italo Brancucci. He made his debut in 1943, at the Teatro Regio in Parma, as Rodolfo in La bohème, which was also his debut role at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, in 1945. With that company, he appeared in London as the Duke in Rigoletto, and Rodolfo. In 1948, he made his debut at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, as Nadir in Les pêcheurs de perles, later singing Ramiro in La cenerentola, which he also sang that same year at the Verona Arena.

The tenor sang regularly in Naples and Bologna, and made guest appearances at the New York City Opera in 1947: La traviata (with Enzo Mascherini as Giorgio), Rigoletto (opposite Giuseppe Valdengo and Virginia MacWatters), Madama Butterfly, La bohème, Il barbiere di Siviglia (conducted by Julius Rudel) and Don Giovanni (in Theodore Komisarjevsky's production). In 1949, the tenor went on a concert-tour of England and Australia. In 1954, at the Teatro Fenice in Venice, Infantino sang Edgardo to the Lucia of Maria Callas, in Lucia di Lammermoor. Infantino toured England again in 1957 giving a concert at Cheltenham among others. At the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, he created Amleto, by Mario Zefred, in 1961, and La stirpe di Davide by Franco Mannino, in 1962. In 1964 Infantino reprised his role of Edgardo at the Bombay Opera in India, with soprano Celia Baptista as his Lucia. He was also active throughout his career singing on Italian Radio (RAI), where he gave his last performance in 1973, in Mannino's Il diavolo in giardino.

A stylish lyric tenor with an attractive voice, Infantino can be heard in complete recordings of La traviata (EMI, 1946) and Il barbiere di Siviglia (Cetra, 1950, opposite Giuseppe Taddei and Giulietta Simionato). There is also a live recording of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, sung in Italian (Melodram, 1962).

In November 1977 Harald Jan Dahle (12 December 1949, Oslo) a writer and journalist from Oslo, Norway, visited Luigi Infantino in his home at Piazza Porto de Ripetta No 1 in Rome. (Luigi's phone number was 6542033) This he did as part of a series of articles he wrote on Italian culture, film and music for Aftenposten, Norway's largest newspaper. In his home Luigi Infantino told about his visit to Hotel La Torre in Sicily where he sang for a group of Norwegian handicapped children, an experience he never forgot. After this occasion he wrote a long poem to express the grace of God for this helpless children and he read the poem for Harald Jan Dahle. Infantino had been to Norway in the early 1950s. He was accompanied then by the Norwegian pianist Robert Levin and the impresario Per Gotschalk in Oslo. Infantino remembered well the Norwegian Opera which he visited. But, he was not very impressed by the low standard of this opera. He did mention to Harald Jan Dahle that the opera singer Kirsten Flagstad, who at that time was also the director of the Norwegian Opera, made a very good performance, but it was sadly enough hampered by the low standard of the opera itself. "The opera singer Luigi Infantino is perhaps the most pleasant and vibrant personality I have met with," says Mr. Dahle. "He joked that we in Norway have so much money and Italy has so much sunshine, perhaps we should exchange this for the better of both countries!" Luigi Infantino had an impressive personality, lots of humor and a very big, Italian heart. His professional and humanistic character made him into one of Italy's Grand Opera singers in our century.