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Distinguished professor, Giorgio Tozzi



Photo by Paul Martens

"After all is said and done, if a performing artist, or any artist for that matter, fails to communicate, he has not achieved the purpose of his vocation."
—Giorgio Tozzi

Henry A. Upper Chair in Music
School of Music
IU Bloomington


Giorgio Tozzi is not a typical faculty member. His résumé details his experience as a Mafia don, a poetic cobbler and the close relative of a number of damsels in distress. Of course, these are Tozzi’s performance roles. But even those are atypical for a voice professor at the School of Music.

Most of his operatic work has been with New York’s Metropolitan Opera. Tozzi first performed there in 1954 and continued for 21 seasons in 37 different roles. But what makes him unique is his career in non-operatic productions.

Nominated for a Tony award for his Broadway performance The Most Happy Fella, Tozzi became famous outside of opera for his performances in South Pacific, in which he appeared opposite both Florence Henderson and Mary Martin and received the San Francisco Critics Award for best actor in a musical. He has earned four Grammy awards for his operatic performances and has a gold record under his belt for his 1957 RCA recording of South Pacific. Tozzi also has guest starred on television and played major roles in feature films.

Although many in the opera world consider musical theater a lesser art form, Tozzi’s response to such critics is that “if one has to compare works of art in order to better appreciate or evaluate...then chances are he will never truly enjoy any one of them. To love is to accept, not to compare.”

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Publication date: March 2, 2001
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