Happy Birthday Franco Corelli (8 April 1921 – 29 October 2003)
Possessed with one of the most thrilling tenor voices ever and matinee idol looks, Franco Corelli was an ever popular star world-wide. He was well known for his partnerships with the great soprano's of his day, Maria Callas and Renata Tebaldi, but especially for that with Birgit Nilsson.
I seem to recall he had a nickname, Golden Thighs (well, it's Italian equivalent), due to his popularity with the ladies while singing roles that demand a bit of male leg, such as Radames, Pollione, Calaf or anything in tights.
As a teenager I thought his voice amazing, his ringing top tones and golden tones were only ever let down by poor diction, especially in French, and his ingratiating lisp.
That said, you will never get me to surrender his recordings of Radames or Cavaradossi, Andrea Chenier or Calaf, they are simply too beautiful. Just listen to the dimenuendo on the high B-flat at the end of Celeste Aida to know what I mean, no one even comes close to singing like this.
Happy Birthday Franco Corelli!