From Development server
25 July 2007

Nicola Zaccaria, 85, La Scala's Bass of Choice During Fifties and Sixties, has Died

Athens, March 9, 1923 - July 24, 2007

Nicola Zaccaria, the Greece-born bass who served as the Teatro alla Scala's go-to low-voice for some fifteen years during the fifties and sixties, has died at the age of eighty-five. Zaccaria had reportedly been suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

Born Nicolas Angelos Zachariou in Piraeus, Greece, on March 3, 1923, Zaccaria was trained at the Royal Conservatory in Athens and made his debut (as Nicolas Zachariou) in 1949, as Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor at Athens Opera. His international career began some four years later when he bowed at La Scala as Sparafucile. His avuncular, noble presence was featured frequently at La Scala throughout the remainder of the decade: Zaccaria sang with Maria Callas in important La Scala stagings of Alceste (Oracle), La Vestale (Soothsayer), La Sonnambula (Rodolfo), Lucia di Lammermoor (Raimondo) and Norma (Oroveso). In 1958, he created the role of the Third Tempter in the La Scala world premiere of Pizzetti's opera Assassinio nella cattedrale, an adaptation of T. S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral.

Zaccaria made his Covent Garden debut in 1957, as Oroveso to Callas's Norma, and was Creon to her Medea for his 1959 U. S. debut, in Dallas. His association with Dallas continued throughout the next fifteen years: among his other roles there were Melisso to Joan Sutherland's Alcina in Handel's Alcina, Banquo in Macbeth, Rochefort in Anna Bolena, Cirillo in Giordano's Fedora and Lothario in Mignon, the last opposite another frequent colleague, Marilyn Horne. Zaccaria sang Orbazzano to Horne's Tancredi in stagings of Rossini's opera in Rome, Houston, San Francisco, Aix-en-Provence and Venice, and was Astolfo to her warrior knight in Vivaldi's Orlando Furioso in Verona.

Zaccaria's European career also included numerous engagements at the Vienna State Opera, as well as appearances in Paris, Salzburg, Florence and Naples.

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