Posted on

Franco’s Big Break

A letter from Marina Boagno, author of Corelli: A Man, A Voice

According to the Tosca film credits, Sciarrone is one Aldo Relli. This is the stage name of Ubaldo Corelli, Franco’s brother. One might think, here is a typical case of nepotism: the famous tenor bringing in some family. Instead, it was the other way around. Ubaldo, a good baritone, had graduated from the Santa Cecilia Conservatory and was taking his career rather easy. He had been comfortably singing small roles for a number of years when he was chosen for Sciarrone.

Ubaldo heard that Carmine Gallone was looking for a good-looking young tenor to act Cavaradossi. The director’s intention was to have Ferruccio Tagliavini record the music. Ubaldo, who was friendly with Gallone, showed him a photo of his “baby brother.” Not only was Franco handsome, but, Ubaldo insisted, he also was very good at singing. Gallone met the young tenor—and that is how Franco Corelli came to be cast as Cavaradossi.