Opera Chic just posted about Carlo Bergonzi's receiving a Lifetime Achievement award. If the accolade identifying someone as one of the greatest in his field of the century seems overused, it's not lightly given in Bergonzi's case. He truly was one of the greatest tenors of the 20th century. His voice graces many classic opera recordings (in my collection, too), but we also heard him once in performance here in Baltimore. In the early or middle 1990's, Bergonzi sang the role of Nemorino in Donizetti's "L'Elisir d'amore" for Baltimore Opera. It was one of opera's typical contradictions -- a sixty-year-old man in the role of a young lover -- but it's the voice that really counts, and it didn't matter whether Bergonzi was in his twenties or sixties. I remember that this performance was announced as his last one in North America. He was retiring while still in good voice, and he sounded great that night.
Here's a link to Opera Chic's post on various MIDEM awards for Bergonzi and other artists (including a favorite countertenor, Philippe Jaroussky).