One of the most famous tenors of his time, he sang the role of Mario Cavaradossi in Maria Callas's famous 1953 recording of "Tosca", considered one of the greatest operatic recordings ever made. He also sang the role of the Duke of Mantua in Callas's studio recording of "Rigoletto", as well as her studio recordings of "Cavalleria Rusticana" and "Pagliacci". He also sang the tenor part in Arturo Toscanini's 1951 performance of Verdi's "Requiem Mass".
Never fully recovered from wounds sustained in a robbery at his family's villa in Kenya in November 2004. The tenor had been struck in the head during an attack by five assailants at his home.
Legendary lyric-dramatic tenor sang with distinction all over the world (La Scala, Metropolitan Opera, Teatro Colon, among many others) until taking on too many heavy roles too early cost him his voice. He may still be heard at his best on the many recordings he made in his prime, particularly "Tosca", "Pagliacci" and "Lucia di Lammermoor" opposite his close friend and frequent on-stage partner, Maria Callas. His recordings of the traditional Neopolitan songs have also been much-praised.
His final performance was in 1992 as the emperor in "Turandot".
He accompanied Maria Callas on her final recital tour in 1973.
He made his operatic debut in 1946 as Des Grieux in "Manon". He first sang at the Met in New York in 1948.
His father was a cobbler and his mother was a dressmaker.
Maestro Di Stefano won the Italian Golden Orfeo (an Italian award similar to an Oscar) award in 1955 for his contribution to the art of opera. Also a member of the Opera Hall of Fame. And a recipient of Grammy Hall of Fame award for his 1953 recording of the opera "Tosca" along with his co-stars Maria Callas, Tito Gobbi and conductor Victor de Sabata - award was issued in 1987.