Leonard Warren was born April 21, 1911. No baritone within living memory has matched him in the great Verdi baritone roles Below is the big second act aria from the most challenging of Verdi’s baritone roles – the title character from Rigoletto. He sang this part 89 times with at the Met both in New York and on tour. Almost every baritone who sings Verdi’s misshapen jester runs out of gas well before it’s over. Warren, with his incredible top, handled it with ease. It will be a long time or take a very lucky event before we hear his like again.

Cortigiani, vil razza dannata

This excerpt was taken from a performance in 1945 when Warren was almost 34. He’s at the peak of his powers here.