Salvatore Licitra

Born Aug. 10, 1968 in Bern. Died Sept. 5, 2011 in Catania.


The Italian Salvatore Licitra was one of the leading tenors in the beautiful and highly sought-after dramatic Italian repertoire where he showed his 'worthiness of the great Italian tradition' (The New York Times). A frequent guest at major opera and concert stages in Europe, the United States and the Far East, his repertory includes Verdi’s Aida, Un Ballo in Maschera, La Forza del destino, Ernani, Macbeth, Don Carlos and Il Trovatore as well as Puccini’s Turandot, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, La fanciulla del Westand, Il Tabarro, Bellini’s Norma, Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur, Giordano’s Andrea Chenier, Leoncavallo's I Pagliacci and Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana.

Salvatore Licitra was born in Bern, Switzerland to Italian parents and studied in Parma where in 1998 he made his debut at the Teatro Regio in Un Ballo in Maschera. He garnered international attention later that year when he unexpectedly inaugurated the 1998 Arena di Verona, again in Ballo. The following year Maestro Riccardo Muti brought him to La Scala for a new production of La Forza del Destino. In May 2002 Mr. Licitra had his international break through when he stepped in on short notice for Luciano Pavarotti at the Metropolitan Opera in Tosca and had an overwhelming success.

Mr. Licitra’s engagements have taken him to the Vienna State Opera, Opernhaus Zurich, Munich’s Bayerische Staatsoper, Deutsche Oper and Staatsoper Berlin, Teatro alla Scala, Arena di Verona, London’s Royal Opera, Paris Opera Bastille, Tokyo, Taiwan, China, the opera companies of Rome, Naples, Florence, Parma, Palermo, Oslo, Lisbon as well as to the New York Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington National Opera, San Francisco and Los Angeles Opera.

His discography includes Il Trovatore and Tosca (both conducted by Maestro Riccardo Muti), two solo albums of Verdi, Puccini and verismo arias and the soundtrack of The Man Who Cried. He can be seen on DVD in the Aida production of the Zurich Opera as well as La Scala’s Tosca conducted by Riccardo Muti.

After a motor scooter accident in Sicily and nine days of coma, Salvatore Licitra dies in Catania, aged 43.

Upper right picture : © Nikolaus Karlinsky. Central picture : © Nikolaus Karlinsky.