Sad news from the world of Italian opera, as tenor Salvatore Licitra passed away yesterday. The 43-year-old singer suffered a stroke last week while driving his scooter near the city of Ragusa, on the island of Sicily. The injuries that he suffered in the resulting accident proved fatal.
When he first came up, some opera wags hailed him as “the next Pavarotti,” especially after he stepped in for the ailing Pavarotti himself at the Metropolitan Opera in 2002 and won over a crowd that was geared up for the larger-than-life superstar. Licitra may not have matched Pavarotti for sheer beauty of voice (no one else has, either), but he had some of the same personal warmth, the same comfort with the repertoire, and that ringing quality in his voice that the Italians call squillo. Check him out below in a 2000 production of Tosca at La Scala, and you’ll find him in glorious voice. Salvatore Licitra is gone from us too soon.