Franco Ventriglia (born 1922 in Fairfield, Connecticut) is an opera singer who sang bass in every major European opera house for over twenty years during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. He returned to the U.S. in 1978 and continued performing there (including Carnegie Hall) and in southeast Asia until his retirement at age 79.
He grew up on a truck farm in Fairfield, and graduated from high school in 1941. He enlisted in the Marine Corps, serving in the First Marine Aircraft Wing in the South Pacific. After returning from the war, he was working at his brother's filling station in Easton, Connecticut when Mario Pagano, a maestro de Canto at the American Theatre Wing Professional School heard from one of Ventriglia's coworkers about his singing talent. Ventriglia went on to attend ATW's Professional School on the G.I. Bill, crossing paths with fellow classmate Marlon Brando, among others.
He worked as an inspector at Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, with special permission to take one day off each week to continue his studies.
After Pagano's untimely death, Ventriglia and his wife boarded the ocean liner SS Constitution for Italy. On board, after singing "Ol' Man River" for a group in first class, he met a businessman who asked him to contact Toti Dal Monte, a great coloratura soprano who also taught voice in Rome. She gave him free lessons and he eventually made his operatic debut in Palermo, singing in the Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.
He later sang with Luciano Pavarotti in La Bohème and Rigoletto. He performed in Samson and Delilah at La Scala, a performance he considered the highlight of his career.
As of 2004, Ventriglia and his wife live in a retirement community in Wallingford, Connecticut.
External links and sources
- Successful opera career was destiny (http://www.record-journal.com/articles/2004/12/26/features/features01.txt), a December 2004 article from a Connecticut newspaper
- Recordings by Franco Ventriglia (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/classical-artist-search/Ventriglia%2C%20Franco/) from Amazon.com