Pinza, Ezio Fortunio

Ezio Fortunio Pinza is the first bass of Italy in the 20th century. He easily coped with all the technical difficulties, impressing with magnificent bel canto, musicality and delicate taste.


Ezio Pinza was born on May 18, 1892 in Rome to the family of a carpenter. In search of work, Ezio parents moved to Ravenna shortly after his birth. At the age of eight, the boy began to help his father. Hence, the father did not want to see his son pursue his fate - he dreamed that Ezio would become a singer.

A dream is a dream, but after Ezio father lost his job, the young man had to leave school. Now he himself supported the family as best he could. By the age of eighteen, Ezio had shown the talent of a cyclist - at a major competition in Ravenna, he won the second place. Pinza may have accepted a lucrative two-year contract, but his father continued to believe that Ezio vocation was singing. Pinza Sr. was not cooled even by the verdict of the best Bologna teacher-vocalist Alessandro Vezzani. He said bluntly: "This boy has no voice."

Cesare Pinza immediately insisted on trial hearing with another teacher in Bologna - Ruzza. This time, the listening results were more satisfactory, and Ruzza started classes with Ezio. Without giving up carpentry work, Pinza quickly achieved good results in the vocal art. Moreover, after Ruzza, due to the progressing illness, could not continue to teach him, Ezio won the favor of Vezzani. The later did not even realized that he once rejected the young singer who came to him. After Pinza sang an aria from the opera "Simon Boccanegra" by Verdi, the venerable teacher was generous with praise. He not only agreed to accept Ezio as one of his students, but also gave him recommendations to the Bologna Conservatory. Moreover, since the future artist did not have money to pay for his studies, Vezzani agreed to pay him a "scholarship" from his own funds. At twenty-two, Pinza became a soloist with a small opera company. He debuted in the role of Oroveso ("Norma" by Bellini), a rather essential role. Having gained success, Ezio fixes it in Prato ("Hernani" by Verdi), in "Manon Lescaut" by Puccini, Bologna ("La Somnambula" by Bellini), Ravenna ("La favorite" by Donizetti).

The First World War interrupted the rapid creative rise of the young singer - he spent four years in the army. Only after the end of the war did Pinza returned to singing. In 1919, the Directorate of the Roma Opera accepted the vocalist as a member of the theater troupe. Moreover, although Pinza played mostly minor roles, he demonstrated his extraordinary talent in them. The famous conductor Tullio Serafin, who invited Pinza to the Turin Opera House, noticed this. Having sung several central bass parts here, the singer decided to storm the "main citadel" – The La Scala Theater in Milan. The great conductor Arturo Toscanini was staging “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg” by Wagner. The conductor liked the way Pinza performed the part of Veit Pogner. Later, Pinza becoming a soloist at The La Scala Theater sang in “Lucia di Lammermoor”, “Aida”, “Tristan and Iseult”, “Boris Godunov” (Pimen) and other operas under the baton of Toscanini. In May 1924, Pinza, together with the best singers of La Scala, sang at the premiere of the opera “Nero” by Arrigo Boito, which aroused great interest in the musical world. For three years, the artist performed in the La Scala Theater. Soon, both Europe and America knew that Pinza was one of the most gifted basses in the history of Italian opera. Pinza made his first tours abroad to Paris, and in 1925, the artist sang at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires. A year later, in November, Pinza made his debut in “La Vestale” by Spontini at the Metropolitan Opera.

For more than twenty years, Pinza remained a permanent soloist of the theater and the troupe adornment. However, it was not only in opera performances that Pinza delighted the most discerning connoisseurs. He also successfully performed as a soloist with many of the most prominent symphony orchestras in the United States. In the interpretation of Pinza, even minor characters acquired special significance and meaning. The artist knew how to endow them with living human characters and therefore inevitably attracted close attention of the audience to his heroes, showing amazing examples of the art of reincarnation. No wonder - art critics of the 1920s and 1930s called him "the young Chaliapin". Pinza liked to repeat that there are three types of opera singers: those who do not perform on stage at all, those that are only able to imitate and copy other people's samples, and, finally, those, who strive to comprehend and perform the role in their own way. Only the latter, according to Pinza, deserve to be called artists.

Pinza - a typical basso cantante was known for the fluency in his voice, refined technical skill, elegant phrasing and a kind of grace that made him inimitable in the operas by Mozart. At the same time, the singer's voice could sound courageous and passionate, with the utmost expression. Being an Italian by nationality, Pinza was closest to the Italian operatic repertoire, but the artist also performed a lot in operas by Russian, German and French composers. Contemporaries considered him extremely versatile opera artist: his repertoire included over 80 compositions. Don Juan, Figaro (“The Marriage of Figaro”), Boris Godunov and Mephistopheles (“Faust” by Charles Gounod) are recognized as his best roles.

Before World War II, Pinza performed at the opera houses in Chicago and San Francisco, toured in England, Sweden, Czechoslovakia, and in 1936, he visited Australia. After the war, in 1947, he sang for a short time with his daughter Claudia, who possessed a lyric soprano. In the season of 1947-1948, he sang for the last time at the Metropolitan Opera House. In May 1948, with the play “Don Juan” in the American city of Cleveland, he said goodbye to the operatic stage. However, the singer's concerts, his performances on radio and television were still held with incredible success. Pinza managed to gather twenty-seven thousand people in one evening on the New York open-air stage "Lewisohn Stadium". Since 1949, Pinza had been singing in operetta (“The Southern Ocean” by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, “Fanny” Harold Rome)< appeared in the films - “Mr. Imperium” (1950), “Carnegie Hall” (1951), “This Evening we sing” (1951).

Due to heart disease, the artist quitted performing on stage in the summer of 1956. Pinza died on May 9, 1957 in Stamford (USA).

Outstanding Italian Singers / Timokhin Vsevolod Vassilievitch. State Music Publishing House (MUZGIZ). 1962