126. Michelangelo Verso (1920 – 2006)

Italian Tenor born in Palermo, Verso started singing in church at the age of seven. When he turned 15 years old he participated as a soloist in the choir of “La Conca d’Oro”, one of the best polyphonic and folk Sicilian choirs of the time. With “La Conca d’Oro”, Verso sang the most beautiful songs in dialect gaining success in Italy and abroad. In 1941, he won a scholarship to become an actor/singer at the Experimental Center of Cinematography in Rome. However, due to the war, he was not able to complete those studies.

In 1948 he made ​​his debut with the role of Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor at the Teatro Massimo of Palermo where, in 1949, he covered the role of Count Almaviva, in the “Barbers di Siviglia”. In 1950, having won an international competition for opera singers, he was awarded a scholarship for further training to the ‘Accademia Musicale Chigiana” in Siena, where he studied with the soprano Ines Alfani-Tellini and master Giorgio Favaretto. Then came the first recordings on discs at 78 rpm: Vitti na crozza (Citra) in 1951 (which became an instant hit worldwide ), … And vui durmiti ancora! and many other classic Sicilian and Neapolitan songs. In the same year he was invited to participate in the Festival of the Neapolitan song -which lasted two months. The press praised him as “The new Caruso”for singing without microphone.

In 1953 he was hired to sing in the United States where, in 1954, Verso played the role of the Count of Almaviva in “Il Barbers di Siviglia”, at the Metropolitan Opera House of New York. The trip to the United State America was offered, as per contract, on board the beautiful and legendary ocean liner Andrea Doria. In later years he made ​​many concerts, tours, performances and programs for radio and television in the United States and in South America.

In the seventies and eighties, he lived with his family in the Netherlands, where he sang in theater, on the radio and on television. He returned in 1988 to Palermo, invited to sing in several radio broadcasts for the RAI and various television stations in Sicily. In 1994 he gave officially bids farewell to the scene with a lyrical concert in memory of Beniamino Gigli at the Ranchibile Theatre of Palermo.

Michelangelo Verso sang until the ripe old age of eighty-two years, recording a final CD in 2002. His voice still intact and his interpretation still unique and personal.


Read More

1. Michelangelo Verso, Official Site, http://www.michelangeloverso.com/
2. Wikipedia, https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelangelo_Verso
3. “E Lucevan le Stella”, YouTube, Michelangelo Verso, Jr., https://youtu.be/nnEWONi6mEs
4. “Vitti ‘Na Crozza”, YouTube, Michelangelo Verso Jr., https://youtu.be/cvjcJBjjdS4

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