Leo Nucci was born in Castiglione dei Pepoli (Bologna) in 1942 and lives in Lodi, hometown of his wife, Adriana. After winning several competitions, in 1967 he made his debut at Teatro Sperimentale (A. Belli) of Spoleto as Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia.
He studied with Maestro Mario Bigazzi before completing his studies in Bologna with Maestro Giuseppe Marchesi. After a brief interruption to his career in 1970, he was persuaded to continue by Maestro Ottaviano Bizzarri. Since his performance 1977 with Il barbiere di Siviglia, he has regularly performed at Teatro alla Scala in Milan.
For Teatro alla Scala he has recorded Don Carlo, two editions of Aida, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Simon Boccanegra, Il trovatore, Otello, Tosca and Gianni Schicchi with conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Chailly, Riccardo Muti, Lorin Maazel and Sir Georg Solti. In 2007 he performed a historic concert to celebrate 30 years of performance at Teatro alla Scala, an event that has been released on DVD (Leo Nucci: Trent’anni alla Scala, produced by C major).
In 1979 he made his debut at the Staatsoper in Vienna with Il barbiere di Siviglia. In this theater he has made nearly 300 performances and several recordings, receiving the honor of “Kammersa?nger” and “Ehrenmitglied”. At the Metropolitan in New York he made his debut in 1980 with Un ballo in maschera. He participated in several new productions, recording Un ballo in maschera, La forza del destino, L’elisir d’amore, Il barbiere di Siviglia and several Gala concerts. He made his debut at London’s Covent Garden in 1978 with Luisa Miller and since then has maintained an enduring collaboration through performances and recordings. He has performed in Arena di Verona for 31 years, performing in more than 100 performances, singing the role of Rigoletto for nine editions and recording numerous DVDs.
Leo Nucci may be the only baritone in history to have sung Rigoletto in all the most important theatres in the world – on April 4th, 2014 he celebrated his five hundredth performance at the Wiener Staatsoper.
He has recorded under the direction of Herbert von Karajan, Sir Georg Solti, Riccardo Muti, Claudio Abbado, Lorin Maazel, Riccardo Chailly, James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Carlo Maria Giulini, Giuseppe Patane?, Nello Santi, Bruno Bartoletti and Daniel Oren, collaborating with colleagues from the world of opera. He starred in two opera films: Macbeth by Claude D’Anna presented at Cannes in 1987, and Il barbiere di Siviglia.
A book has recently been released, dedicated to him: “Leo Nucci, un baritono per caso” written by Achille Mascheroni, Azzali edition of Parma.
Recent highlights include a critically lauded performance of Nabucco at Teatro alla Scala, which he also performed at Covent Garden in London and Florence, as well performances of Rigoletto in Seville and on tour in Japan with Teatro alla Scala and in Bilbao. Future engagements include La traviata in Madrid and Berlin, Nabucco in Valencia, Simon Boccanegra in Vienna, Rigoletto in Liege and Madrid and I due Foscari in Piacenza and Marseille. After the success of Luisa Miller in Busseto, in 2014 Leo Nucci continued his work there as stage director, as well as training young singers of the Academy in Piacenza, where he recently staged L’elisir d’amore: both productions have been very successful in Italy and will land tour abroad in the future.
Nucci will continue his international tour with concerts together with the Italian Opera Chamber Ensemble, with whom he recently recorded an album dedicated to Giuseppe Verdi.