Franco Corelli - the original Hunkentenor

Without doubt my music collection would not be the same without Franco Corelli.  His recordings of Tosca, Aida, Turandot, Norma and Andrea Chenier have long been a part of it, right from my early teens.  The fact he was easy on the eye certainly helped the early attraction and still does, I guess he wasn't called 'Golden Thighs' for nothing (see Exhibit B to the right)! 

But that voice!  Nothing short of astounding.  He remains to this day one in a million, his breathe control and phrasing are things to marvel on, not to mention that gorgeous legato which stayed with him through his long career.

My musical tribute to mark the occasion of his birthday is not your usual fare of the aforementioned operas, but from Puccini's La Fanciulla del West.  

There is a live recording available from Milan April 4, 1986 with Tito Gobbi and Gigliona Frazzoni which is thrilling listening and in reasonable condition given the age of the broadcast, but below is a studio recording of the aria "Ch'ella mi creda", in slightly better sound.

I thought this was also a good excuse to show you the above photo of Corelli as Dick Johnson, looking suave and remarkably like a young James Garner with that moustache, plus gratuitous Andrea Chenier photo, they wore their tights tight back in those days *cough*.  Happy birthday to one amazing star tenor.

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