Giuseppe Campora excelled in the lyrical Italian repertory during the 50’s and performed frequently at the Met, where he became one of Rudolf Bing’s preferred voices.
Born in Tortona, Italy, on 30 September 1923, tenor Giuseppe Campora made his professional operatic debut when stepping in on short notice for a sick Galiano Masini in 1949 at the Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari as Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Boheme. Shortly after, in 1951, he was wanted by Toscanini for La Scala in a performance of Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur, opposite star soprano Renata Tebaldi. The performance set the pace for his rapidly ascending international reputation, marked by his efforts in the filmatization of Aida in 1951 with Sophia Loren in the title role, where Campora sang the tenor voice and Renata Tebaldi the soprano parts.
The following year he visited the Teatro Colon of Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro as well as taking part in the La Scala premiere of Lodovico Roccas “L’Uragano” in 1952 and the 1954 premiere at the Teatro San Carlo of Napoli in “I Pescatori” by Jacopo Napoli.
1954 he debuted at the Met as Rodolfo in La Boheme, where he came to be one of Rudolf Bing’s favourite tenors (Bing was Directing Manager at the Met), and enjoyed a certain popularity with the house during the ’50s. He was the featured tenor for Maria Callas’ Met debut in Lucia di Lammermoor.
Campora is commonly thought to have had a short career, as he to some extent disappeared from the international scene with his departure from the Met. However, he kept performing until late 1970s, singing in various theaters in the US, particularly in Philadelphia, where he came to be one of the most important singers. There exist live recordings with him in Capuleti ed i Montecchi (1968), Madama Butterfly (1970), La Traviata (1971) and L’amico Fritz (1971), all from Philadelphia, but he also sang in Hartford, Trenton and Newark throughout the 1970s, from which the live recordings of Un Ballo in Maschera (Hartford, 1969), Rigoletto (Cincinnati, 1969), Fedora (Trenton, 1971), Mefistofele (Newark, 1976) and Un Ballo in Maschera (Newark, 1976) stem from.
He also sang in his native country. He re-visited La Scala in 1958, in Adriana Lecouvreur, where Magda Olivero sang the title role; in 1959 as Rodolfo in La Boheme with Bastianini and Scotto; in 1961 as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly opposite Stella and Panerai and in Bellini’s Beatrice di Tenda with a young Sutherland as Beatrice; in 1970 in Strauss’ Arabella as Count Elemer; and finally in 1972, re-apperaing as Pinkerton.
He was the founder and Musical Director of the Connecticut Grand Opera, where he also performed as a tenor.
After his retirement he dedicated his time to vocal tuition in his native country, Italy. He passed away in his native Tortona on 4 December 2004.