Giorgio Tozzi (January 8, 1923 – May 30, 2011) was an American operatic bass. He was a mainstay for many years with the Metropolitan Opera, and sang principal bass roles in nearly every major opera house worldwide.


Tozzi was born George John Tozzi in Chicago, Illinois.[1] He studied at DePaul University with Rosa Raisa, Giacomo Rimini and John Daggett Howell, making his professional debut in the Broadway production of Britten's The Rape of Lucretia in 1948 as Tarquinius. His signature roles included Figaro in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, Phillip II in Verdi's Don CarlosHans Sachs in Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and Méphistophélès in Gounod's Faust.[citation needed]

In 1957 he portrayed the title role in a nationally broadcast performance of Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov with the NBC Opera Theatre.[2]

In 1958 he created the role of The Doctor in Barber's Vanessa. Tozzi was the recipient of three Grammy Awards: in 1960 the Grammy Award for Best Classical Performance, Operatic or Choral for The Marriage of Figaro with Erich Leinsdorf; in 1961 the Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording for Puccini'sTurandot, with Erich Leinsdorf; and in 1963 the Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording for Georg Solti's recording of Verdi's Aida (with Leontyne Price andJon Vickers). Tozzi also sang the bass part in the recording of Sir Thomas Beecham's version of Handel's Messiah for RCA Victor in 1959.[citation needed]

After dubbing the singing parts for the character of Emile de Becque (acted by Rossano Brazzi) in the 1958 film version of South Pacific, Tozzi spent many years playing the role of de Becque himself in various revivals and road tours of the show, including one at Lincoln Center in the late 1960s. In 1980, TozziEARNED a Tony Award nomination for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his work as Tony in The Most Happy Fella.

He was a professor at the Juilliard SchoolBrigham Young University, and Indiana University. In 2006 he retired as Distinguished Professor of Voice at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music.[citation needed]

Tozzi published a novel in 1997, The Golem of the Golden West.[3]

Personal lifeEdit

Tozzi was twice married. He first married Catherine Dieringer, who predeceased him; in 1967 he married Monte Amundsen, a singer, with whom he had a son and a daughter.[4]

Tozzi died on May 30, 2011, in Bloomington, Indiana, aged 88, of a heart attack. He was survived by Amundsen, their children, Eric Tozzi and Jennifer Tozzi Hauser, and three grandchildren.[5][6]