Ezio Pinza was an Italian basso opera singer with a rich, smooth and sonorous voice. He spent 22 seasons at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, appearing in more than 750 performances of 50 operas. Pinza also sang to great acclaim at La Scala, Milan, and at the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden.
After retiring from the Met in 1948, Pinza enjoyed a fresh career on Broadway in the musical theatre and appeared, too, in several Hollywood films.
Pinza was born in modest circumstances in Rome in 1892 and grew up on Italy’s east coast, in the ancient city of Ravenna. He studied singing at Bologna’s Conservatorio Martini, making his operatic debut in 1914, as Oroveso in Norma at Cremona.
A devotee of bicycle riding, Pinza also undertook four years of military service during World War I, prior to resuming his operatic career in Rome in 1919. He was then invited to sing at Italy’s foremost opera house, La Scala, Milan, making his debut there in February 1922. At La Scala, under the direction of the brilliant and exacting principal conductor Arturo Toscanini, Pinza’s career blossomed during the course of the next few seasons. He became a popular favourite of critics and audiences due to the high quality of his singing and the attractiveness of his stage presence.