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By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
Monday, March 3, 2008; 9:24 PM

-- Giuseppe Di Stefano

ROME (AP) _ Giuseppe Di Stefano, one of the greatest tenors of the 20th century and a celebrated singing partner of soprano Maria Callas, died Monday, his wife said. He was 86.

Di Stefano died at home in Santa Maria Hoe, north of Milan, from injuries sustained in a November 2004 attack at his family's villa in Kenya, wife Monika Curth said.

Unidentified assailants struck the retired tenor on the head during the attack. Di Stefano underwent surgery twice in Mombasa before being flown to Milan. He awakened from a coma, but never fully recovered.

Di Stefano, born in Sicily in 1921, made his debut in 1946 in the northern city of Reggio Emilia with Massenet's "Manon," and went on to sing at the world's top opera houses, including Milan's La Scala, New York's Metropolitan, and in Vienna and Berlin. His last performance was in Rome in 1992.

Known for his powerful voice, Di Stefano also is remembered for his duets with Callas, who performed and recorded with him several times in the 1950s through her final tour in 1973.

Di Stefano was at the height of his career when other stars of contemporary opera were taking their first steps. Luciano Pavarotti, who died in September, had his big international break when he stood in for Di Stefano as Rodolfo in Puccini's "La Boheme" at London's Covent Garden in 1963.

At the Met, Di Stefano sang in 112 performances from 1948 to 1965, making his debut in Verdi's "Rigoletto" as the Duke.

___

Vitaly Fedorchuk

MOSCOW (AP) _ Vitaly Fedorchuk, who briefly headed the KGB and served as Soviet interior minister in the 1980s, died Friday, officials said. He was 89.

Fedorchuk died in Moscow of an unspecified illness, said the Federal Security Service, the main KGB successor agency.


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© 2008 The Associated Press