Friday, February 11, 2011

Celebrating Justino Diaz

Justino Diaz as Otello and an early head shot

One of our traditions that draws the most email is our "Historical Hunks" feature. People seem to have a lot of favorites from their past with Ettore Bastianini, Titta Ruffo and Theodore Uppman appearing to be the most popular with our readers. We also receive a good deal of correspondence regarding Justino Diaz, who almost stole the opera film "Otello" from Katia Ricciarelli and Placido Domingo with his searingly evil portrayal of Iago complete with his trademark rich and resonant low notes.

Diaz shot onto the international scene in 1963 when he won the Metropolitan Opera auditions. That same year he made his debut on the celebrated stage as Monterone in Rigoletto. He went on to sing on the major stages of the world, starred in films and inaugurated the new Lincoln Center in Barber's Antony and Cleopatra with Leontyne Price (who celebrated her 84th birthday yesterday).

Diaz retired in 2003 to his native Puerto Rico and runs the Casals Festival and stages opera.

We can't think of a better way to celebrate this great artist than with a few clips of his artistry, beginning with his famous Iago, his Torreador song and a trio with Joan Sutherland.

Contact us at


  1. Always loved Diaz but I'm sure you meant "in Otello" or "as Iago in Otello".

    1. I am a Diaz lover. Do you know of any material that describes his vocal technique. How valuable would that be to a young singer huh? Thanks.

  2. Watching his MACBETH from San Juan P R 1984perf. With Sylvia Sass as Lady Macbeth!! FANTASTIC!!!