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Operapedia- Nicola Cencherle

"Nicola Cencherle, known as Nicky, was born in Schio, Italy. He immigrated to South Africa with his parents at an early age. He began singing lessons at age of 18 with Xandre Haagen at Pretoria University and later with Alessandro Rota. He joined PACOFS at the age of 25. His operatic debut was as Cavaradossi. Later he sang Rodolfo, Pinkerton, Duca, Alfredo, Pollione, José and Riccardo.

Returning to Italy in 1971, Cencherle won the Teatro Nuovo Competition in Milano and made his Italian debut in "Lucia di Lammermoor", following with "Il tabarro", "L'amico Fritz" and "Simon Boccanegra". During this time Cape Town Opera brought him back twice to sing in "Lucia di Lammermoor" and "La traviata".

PHOTO - Rodolfo with Magaretha Deysel (Mimi)

After seven years in Italy he returned and joined CAPAB where he was a member of the permanent company for 18 years.

His repertoire varied from opera, operetta, Neapolitan & Italian songs to popular ballads. He sang for radio concerts, film & television. Cencherle has enjoyed a wonderful singing career in and around Cape Town, either as a solo performer or in various ensembles.

Cencherle possessed a lirico-spinto tenor voice of true Italian quality and style."

He died on September 12, 2022.

PHOTO - Rodolfo with Hans van Heerden (Marcello)


Listen to Nicola's mastery of the great old Italian style of singing, with his rendition of 'Che gelida manina' from La Boheme in the video below.

Such an extraordinary instrument and talent which is sorely missed. If only we had even half this amount of talent on opera stages today...


for information on his musical life.


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