Riccardo Chailly in Corriere della Sera mourns "the loss of the last legend of opera: Del Monaco, Corelli and Di Stefano have been the icons of bel canto". Franco Zeffirelli points out that "Pippo had already died long ago: a cruel end for a man as full of life and as funny as he was. A perennial bad boy, always ready to joke. Just don't believe the gossip about his relationship with Callas, it's a lie made up by one of his exes, a British singer, Nicola Kirsh, who wanted revenge and told the newspapers... Maria and Pippo were just great friends, two very special characters, great allies on the stage. In their twilight, they were like two castaways, holding on to each other to make their careers last a little longer".
Raina Kabaivanska in Repubblica remembers "the voice who made the world swoon", "a man adored by the audience and beloved by women. I want to remember him full of life, of joy, full of the Sicilian sun. We did Rienzi together in 1964, I was very young and was studying all the time. He showed up for rehearsals with his stunning eyes, burning with passion, cracked a couple jokes, yelled a bit, then left the opera house. He didn't really feel like studying Wagner. On opening night, at la Scala, he didn't really know his part, and they had to do deep cuts. He sang glancing at the score hidden around the sets, and I had to sweat all the acuti. But he owned that stage, the audience loved it".
Kabaivanska refuses to compare Di Stefano with other great tenors: "To each his own character, his own color, comparisons are just not done. He sang with ease, he was a natural. You could almost touch the sound of his voice".
Giulietta Simionato in La Stampa: "Everything came easy to him: he had the natural talent of a unique artist: he was all genius and rebellion".
(photos courtesy of www.giuseppedistefano.it)