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Di Stefano Anecdotes

Here are some Di Stefano anecdotes I have received from a visitor to this page:

First let me preface this by saying that Di Stefano never bought into "The Opera Mystique" he never thought of himself as "Diva" except, maybe once:

It was at Philadelphia's Academy of Music. Di Stefano was appearing in "Un Ballo in Maschera". About one hour before the performance , he was leafing through the playbill, an advertisement caught his eye. The ad was from Angel Records (Di Stefano's Label) proclaiming Franco Corelli as the greatest tenor in the world. A furious Di Stefano sought out the theater manager, and refused to perform unless the offending page was removed from all the playbills. The theater manger had no choice but to comply.

In 1956 Di Stefano was to perform in a La Scala production of "La Traviata" with Callas. He was not enthusiastic about the role of Alfredo and reluctantly agreed to do it. He had difficulties with stage manager who was constantly facing him upstage (placing his back to the audience) his comment was "I sing with my mouth, not my derriere". Well despite all these problems the performance went very well (Available on CD's) and was met with a great ovation. Callas then stated "don't come out for a bow, let me go out alone!" An irritated Di Stefano replied "Maria, you can go out alone tonight, and every night from now on. I'm leaving La Scala, I'm leaving Milan, and I'm leaving Italy". And he did. Luckily they made up and performed together again.

Di Stefano's operatic hero was Beniamino Gigli, when Di Stefano first met the great tenor he tried to ask him if he could sing for him. Di Stefano being very nervous- stuttered- Gigli replied "Young man, one must learn how to talk, before one can sing".

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