The first years


Giacinto Prandelli was born on 8th February in Lumezzane, just outside Brescia, the third of eight siblings. His father, Giovanbattista, owned a flourishing metal-working company; his mother, Maria, was to be the most ardent supporter of her son’s decision to undertake a singing career.

He was christened Giacinto in honour of his grandfather. He attended the parish-run Schola Cantorum, where he had his first musical encounters as a young  chorister. 


He did his compulsory military service in Milan, and at the Military Unit in Monza, where he was assigned clerical tasks. 


On the advice of his cousin Mina, a far-sighted teacher of letters, he enrolled in a singing contest in La Spezia, and won. He was noticed there by a singing voice expert, who introduced him to Brescia-born baritone Edmondo Grandini.

Gradini offered him hospitality and taught him free of charge – Giacinto’s father was still unaware of his son’s musical aspirations. A few months later Prandelli made a highly successful debut at the Teatro Verdi di Busseto. Also debuting at the same concert was Carlo Bergonzi, another tenor destined to make a name for himself. 


While attending a friend’s audition at the Teatro Donizetti in Bergamo, he shyly stepped forward when a tenor voice was requested,  and was promptly signed up by the renowned orchestra conductor Gianandrea Gavazzeni. Although it was wartime, he debuted in Il mito di Caino by the Brescian composer Franco Margola.


Giacinto Prandelli moved to Milan, the temple of opera, where he studied under Maestro Nardini. An EIAR official who had heard him sing before summoned him to Rome for an audition. 

This was the year in which the tenor’s career really took off. He played Alfredo in La Traviata at the Teatro Reale dell'Opera, and a few years later debuted in the most  important operas in the lyrical repertoire, including La Bohème, Madame Butterfly, Wally, Tosca, La Gioconda, Rigoletto, Manon Lescaut and, last but not least, Werther, an opera that was to become one of Prandelli’s favourites. 


After  September 8th Italy surrender,   the tenor undertook a hazardous journey back to Lumezzane to attend to his sick father. He returned to Milan a few months later, and there resumed his career with renewed vigour. Numerous were the occasions, during this dark period of Italian history, that he escaped the Nazi-Fascist round-ups.