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September 5, 2011

Italian tenor Salvatore Licitra dies at 43 from injuries in scooter accident

Italian tenor Salvatore Licitra, who rose to fame after substituting for Luciana Pavarotti at the Metropolitan Opera in 2002, died Monday at the age of 43, the result of severe injuries from a motor scooter accident on Aug. 27 in his native Sicily.

It has been reported that the crash may have been caused when the singer experienced a brain hemorrhage. He was not wearing a helmet. After surgery at a hospital in Catania, he went into a coma.

Mr. Licitra's career was launched in 1998 at the Teatro Regio of Parma, but it was his unexpected Met debut four years later in "Tosca," a last-minute sub for Pavarotti, that put the tenor on the international map.

Although Mr. Licitra ...

did not meet all the expectations generated by his Met triumph, he won considerable admiration for the remarkable power and Italianate richness of his voice.

Locally, Mr. Licitra left a memorable mark, starring in Washington National Opera productions of "Andrea Chenier" in 2004 and "Tosca" the next year. His voice had a truly electrifying effect on those occasions. The tenor was only a little less impressive in the company's production of "Un Ballo in Maschera" last year and a concert version of "Cavalleria Rusticana" in 2008; his vocal and dramatic intensity still hit home.

Here are examples of Salvatore Licitra's all too brief career:

Posted by Tim Smith at 5:23 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Clef Notes, Opera

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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