Say a Prayer for Salvatore

Salvatore Licitra. The young tenor is in 'grave' condition following a motorcycle accident in Italy.(Photo: Sony Classical)
Salvatore Licitra. The young tenor is in 'grave' condition following a motorcycle accident in Italy.(Photo: Sony Classical)

Tenor Salvatore Licitra’ s condition remains very serious following a motorcycle crash in Sicily earlier this week. The Italian newspaper Corriere della sera writes today, “Licitra e uno stato di coma estramamente grave”.

Licitra first came to attention in 1999, when Riccardo Muti brought him to La Scala to cover Jose Cura in Verdi’s La forza del destino. Rehearsals were attended by a the press along with two great divas:  Leyla Gencer and Renata Tebaldi. These two great ladies worried and fretted about the ‘curse’ of Forza. It’s considered a bad luck opera, akin to Shakespeare’s Scottish play in the theater. But everyone, from ushers to tough old divas,  was impressed by young Mr. Licitra, who sang the rehearsals with aplomb. He was on his way.

I’ve heard Licitra, now slim and buff-at the Met in Aida, Pagliacci and Tosca. His New York debut was a thriller. Pavarotti cancelled his announced farewell performance.  People in the $1500 seats weren’t happy. Joe Volpe, the Met’s then (fantastic) general director flew young Mr. Licitra over on the Concorde. Salvatore took a walk in Central Park, did some shopping and when, at 7.30 Pacvarotti finally decided he would not sing on- stage the young man went, with solid nerves and a great performance.

Unlike many comets, Licitra has gone on to a fine career. This reads like an obituary and it’s not.  I send prayers and good thoughts Salvatore’s way, and hope you will as well. Benedetto.

 

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