Italian tenor known for Verdi interpretations
Carlo Bergonzi, 90, an Italian tenor who was considered one of the most authoritative interpreters of Verdi's operas, died Friday in Milan, according to the Italian Auxologic Institute. No cause was given.
Born July 13, 1924, in the province of Parma not far from Verdi's hometown, Bergonzi started his studies at age 16 as a baritone, only to discover later that his musical gifts lay in the tenor range. Bergonzi served in World War II in an antiaircraft artillery unit and was interned in a German forced labor camp for three years.
Bergonzi's international career took off after his 1956 debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, where he sang the role of Radames in Verdi's "Aida." His Met career spanned 32 years and 22 roles.
The Met recalled in a tribute that Bergonzi "was particularly praised for the beauty and warmth of his singing and for his elegant attention to style and phrasing."
He also sang nine seasons at La Scala in Milan and 21 seasons at the Arena open-air summer theater in Verona.
Bergonzi ended his artistic career in 1995 and then taught singing. Among his students were those enrolled at the Angel's Vocal Art Center in Long Beach, where he led workshops.
Wallace "Wah Wah" Jones
Wallace "Wah Wah" Jones, 88, a multi-sport star who helped the University of Kentucky win the first two of its eight national basketball titles and is considered the school's greatest all-around athlete, died Sunday, according to the Anderson, Laws and Jones funeral home in his hometown of Harlan, Ky. No other details were available.
A tall and chiseled 6-foot-4-inch All-American, Jones was the last surviving member of the Wildcats' "Fabulous Five" basketball team that won the 1948 national championship and went on to claim Olympic gold that year for the United States. He returned with three teammates under Hall of Fame coach Adolph Rupp to repeat as titlists in 1949.
Jones also played football at Kentucky from 1945 to '48, including three seasons for legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant and earned all-
Jones teamed with Ralph Beard, Alex Groza, Kenny Rollins and Cliff Barker to form the so-called Fabulous Five that went 36-3 and beat Baylor 58-42 for Kentucky's first national title in 1948. The entire starting quintet was named to the U.S. Olympic team that routed France, 64-21, for the gold medal in London.
All but Rollins returned the next season as Kentucky beat Oklahoma A&M, 46-36, to repeat as champions.
Times wire reports