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Opera singer Cesare Siepi dies aged 87

07 July 10 12:58
Cesare Siepi poses during the Anna Bolena opera at teatro alla Scala in Milan.

Italian opera star Cesare Siepi, considered one of the finest ever bass singers, has died at the age of 87.

Milan-born Siepi, who lived in the US, died in an Atlanta hospital after suffering a stroke a week earlier, his family said.

He performed 379 times at New York's Metropolitan Opera, playing 18 roles including Figaro and Don Giovanni.

He was also a frequent guest at opera companies across the world, including The Royal Opera House in London.

'Important thing'

"Family was extremely important to him - he absolutely adored his wife and us," his daughter Luisa Siepi said.

"We were probably the most important thing for him."

Born in 1923, the young Siepi was part of a madrigal choir, and went on to study at the Milan Conservatory.

He left Italy during World War II, escaping to Switzerland because he was an opponent of the Fascist regime, his son Marco Siepi said.

Siepi returned to Italy at the end of the war and later travelled to the US, where he made his Met debut in 1950, his career continuing there until the early 1970s.

He also performed several lead roles on Broadway.

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