Tenor Salvatore Licitra Dies at 43

by J-Stacknik

The opera world was shaken with the unexpected news that tenor Salvatore Licitra, age 43, died on September 5, 2011. His quick rise to fame became the talk of many opera fans who saw Licitra as a shining light in a genre that needed a much needed boost.

Licitra was born in Bern, Switzerland to Sicilian parents, he grew up in Milan. He didn’t really study music until the age of 18. He first studied at the Music Academy of Parma and then at the Carlo Bergonzi’s vocal school in Busseto. After that he started appearing in small regional Italian opera houses.

As far as his big break there were two notables and they both came as a strange twist of fate. Licitra was the understudy in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera (A Masked Ball) in 1998 at the Verona Arena when he was asked to take the lead tenor role opening night. Word of his performance lead to an audition with conductor Riccardo Muti, who cast him in a new Scala production of La Forza del Destino. Then again Licitra was a last minute substitute for none other than Luciano Pavarotti, who was scheduled to sing two performances of Tosca, at the Metropolitan Opera House, that many opera fans believed would be the celebrated tenor’s farewell to the Met.

With the circumstances of Licitra’s Met debut, his repertoire choices and the quality of his voice, he was marked as a potential successor to Pavarotti. He was soon signed to a record deal with Sony Classical, and he also appeared in such prestigious opera houses like Vienna State Opera, London’s Royal Opera, San Francisco Opera and the Berlin Staatsoper.

Licitra was severely injured when he lost control of his scooter in Italy two weeks before his death. He crashed into a wall and sustained severe head and chest injuries and then lapsed into a coma of which he never came out.

Salvatore Licitra is survived by his parents and his brother.

Read more:

Tenor Salvatore Licitra Dies At Age 43

Salvatore Licitra – Performing Verdi’s Il Trovatore


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