Below is a video made by the late tenor shortly before he was beaten senseless by unknown assailants as he was exiting his car near his home in Kenya. The attack was in 2004; the singer never fully recovered and died in 2008.

Di Stefano’s prime coincided almost exactly with that of Maria Callas with whom he often appeared. From 1946 to 1956 he sang with beauty and passion virtually unmatched by any tenor of the 20th century. After the age of 35 his vocal prowess rapidly diminished, though he continued to sing. The premature loss of his voice was the result of pushing his voice into roles it didn’t fit and a reckless lifestyle.

The film below, La Voce del Cuore (The Voice of the Heart), is a completely uncritical appraisal of his career. There’s not mention of anything untoward such as the unpleasant end to his appearances at the Met, his overuse of his voice, and unsatisfactory trajectory of what should have been one the most glorious careers in opera.

The numerous excerpts are of uneven interest depending on the time they were made. The filmed appearances by the tenor are at first in black and white and later in color. The singing in the black and white clips is much better than the excerpts made in color when Di Stefano’s voice was well into its decline. Still, anything about this unique artist is of some interest to devotees of opera. The most interesting part of this video is, in my opinion, Di Stefano’s depiction of the first part of his life – the years before he became an opera singer.

In case the YouTube video goes dark I have place a link below it which will allow one to watch this film. The English subtitles are generally good although occasionally it’s off the mark. An example of such a miss is calling Di Stefano’s famous diminuendo on the high C in the cavatina from Gounod’s Faust as ending in a falsetto tone.  What made this spectacular effect so impressive was that it didn’t end in a falsetto, but rather in a fully supported pianissimo.

La Voce del Cuore