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Metropolitan Opera baritone

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Frank Guarrera, 83, a baritone for the Metropolitan Opera in New York for 28 seasons, died Nov. 23 of complications from diabetes at his home in a Philadelphia suburb, his daughter, Valerie Bisquert, told the New York Times.

Guarrera sang 680 performances of 35 roles, including 85 appearances as Escamillo in “Carmen,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. His recordings included the role of Ford in Verdi’s “Falstaff,” a 1950 production by Arturo Toscanini.

It was Toscanini who provided Guarrera with a big break, inviting him to make his La Scala debut after hearing Guarrera win a first prize on the Metropolitan Opera’s 1948 “Auditions of the Air.” He appeared at La Scala, in Milan, Italy, as Fanuel in Boito’s “Nerone.” Guarrera then made his Met debut in December 1948 as Escamillo.

Guarrera became a fixture while Rudolf Bing was the Met’s general manager. Guarrera left the Met in 1976 and spent 10 years teaching at the University of Washington, leaving in 1990.

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A native of Philadelphia, Guarrera studied voice at the Curtis Institute of Music. After serving in the Navy during World War II, Guarrera returned to Curtis to complete his studies.


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