Famed Tenor di Stefano Dead

Brilliant but erratic tenor succumbed to injuries from 2004 attack
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2008 9:53 AM CST

(Newser) – Giuseppe di Stefano, the tenor whose short but brilliant career made him an operatic legend, died yesterday at his home near Milan. He was 86. His widow told reporters his death resulted from head injuries dating to 2004, when robbers in Kenya left him temporarily comatose. Di Stefano's superb voice earned comparisons to Enrico Caruso, but his temperament and personal conduct cut short his career, the LA Times reports.

"I wanted to enjoy life—not just the opera," di Stefano told an interviewer in 1999. But his penchant for smoking, gambling, and staying out late ruined his relationships with the world's opera houses and, said some, his voice as well. The tenor was closely associated with Maria Callas, with whom he had a 2-decade professional and 5-year personal partnership.