Carlo Bergonzi, tenor

Giacinto Prandelli was more than a friend – he was like a brother to me, and aguardian angel as well. I have so many fond memories of our years studyingtogether in Brescia, in that room we rented from Maestro Edmondo Grandini. Likeme, he was from Busseto. I was only fifteen then, or was it sixteen? We sat next toeach other and went through the scores together. “Tell me whether I’m doing allthe words right,” he used to say. He was so meticulous!

Everything had to be done just right, even making the bed! The room we lived inwas a sitting-room by day, and in the evening we had to open out the folding bedsand then put them away the following morning. Sometime I forgot and left my bedout. “As you can see,” said Giacinto, “I often put the stuff away, but you might atleast do it yourself sometimes.”

We shared everything we had. Cigarettes – ‘Popolari’ they were called – used tocost ten cents and we smoked one each evening. I paid one evening and he paidthe next. We were always short of cash.

I even lent him my new Legnano once in 1940 to drive to rehearsals of Il Mitodi Caino with Maestro Màrgola. But he came back without it because it hadbeen stolen!

He was really cut up about that, poor chap!

And then there were concerts in Busseto, up in Val Camonica, near Brescia.I also remember his wife Annamaria. She was really pretty.

Many years later I found out that he’d sung at the Metropolitan. “Bravo, Giacinto!”I told him when I bumped into him one day. “You’ve got as far as New York!”“You’ll get there too, you’ll see,” he answered. “And you’ll stay there a long time.”And you know, he was right – I stayed there for thirty-eight seasons.