Primo Zambruno was born in Tortona on September 3rd, 1914. Due to the war and his family economic situation, Zambruno had to start working early in his life. He started late to study singing professionally. Zambruno auditioned for Pertile, who spotted his talent and recommended that he studied with Merli. He started his studies in 1949. It was not too long before he made his debut in 1951 (October 14th) in Varese in La forza del destino. After Varese, he sang more Forza in Lecco, Monza before his breakthrough in Modena, again in Forza. Zambruno sang Alvaro four times there with Guerrini, Tagliabue/Colzani, Meletti under the baton of Molinari Pradelli.
In 1952, Zambruno added Il trovatore to his repertory (February 9th in Massa), as well as Andrea Chénier (February 13th in Catania with Protti). He sang in Massa, Catania, London (Il trovatore with Kelston, Stignani, Walters with Capuana conducting on June 7th), Rosignano, Tortona, Belluno and Parma (Il trovatore with Stella, Minarchi, Campolonghi and Questa conducting on December 27th).
In 1953, Zambruno added Aida to his repertory on July 2nd in Verona with Cerquetti, Nicolai, Protti, Neri, Maionica and Ghione conducting. During that year, Zambruno sang Il trovatore, Andrea Chénier and La forza del destino. Cities visited included Brescia (Il trovatore on January 28th with Stella, Protti and De Fabritiis), Algiers, Udine, Prato, Lucca, Volterra, Pontedera, Vigevano, Rovigo, Treviso and Catania.
During 1954. Zambruno sang in Parma, Algiers, Napoli (La forza del destino on February 20th with Tebaldi, Pirazzini, Tagliabue, Clabassi, Meletti and Santini), Mestre, Pisa, Tortona, Pistoia, Faenza, Rimini, Alessandria and Novi Ligure. Zambruno added Turiddu to his repertory on July 22nd in Pistoia with Frazzoni.
In 1955, Zambruno visited Dublin for the first time (April in his first Norma with Mancini, Stignani, Stefanoni and Erede), Valencia (July 14th in his first Don José), Barcelona, Madrid (on October 10th, he sang his first Cavaradossi with Caniglia and Annovazzi), Marseille, Rouen, Monte Carlo. He limited his appearances in Italy to Modena, Verona and La Spezia.
In 1956, Zambruno confined his appearances to Cagliari, Sassari, Alessandria, Valencia and sang for the first time in South America on November 23rd in Caracas in Carmen.
In 1957, Zambruno sang his first Canio (on March 3rd in Nice with Oppicelli) and his first Enzo in Malta with Corridori, Didier, Caminada, Azzolini and Cioni on November 21st. He started the year in Cremona (Norma), followed by Malta, Nice, Trento, and Malta again, where he spent the end of the year.
At the beginning of 1958, Zambruno traveled from Malta to Athens, where he appeared in La Gioconda, Aida and Il trovatore. From there, he went on to Spain, appearing in Sevilla (Tosca and Pagliacci) before returning to Italy. Appearances in Tortona and Cento followed before crossing the Atlantic and making his Met debut on November 7th in Cavalleria rusticana with Milanov (on the decline), Elias, Bardelli and Mitropoulos. After an appearance in Philadelphia with the same cast, he returned to Italy.
1959 was to be his last full year singing before retiring. Zambruno sang in Bordeaux, Rouen, Adria, Sestri Levante, Boccadasse, Aquasola, Algiers, Lausanne, Rosignano and Dublin.
Zambruno sang three times each in 1960 (Vigevano, Rovereto and Caltagirone) and 1961 (Vercelli, Agusta and Acireale). His last appearance was on May 24th in Vercelli in La forza del destino. Zambruno, not wanting to continue until vocal decline set in, retired with his voice intact.
During his brief ten years career, Zambruno sang with singers such as Guerrini, Stefanoni, Tagliabue, Colzani, Meletti, Protti, Kelston, Stignani, Callas, Carmassi, Frazzoni, Stella, Cerquetti, Nicolai, Maionica, Pirazzini, Malaspina, Neri, Petri, Mascherini, Capecchi, Tebaldi, Clabassi, Vinco, Savarese, De Cavalieri, Spatafora, Gobbi, Simionato, Caniglia, Barbieri, Guelfi, Zanasi, Ferrin, Parada, Dall'Argine, Lazzarini, Oppicelli, Parutto, Corridori, Paskalis, Ausensi, Campi, Meliciani, Milanov, Couderc and Cappucilli.
Zambruno sang under the baton of distinguished operatic conductors: Molinari Pradelli, Capuana, Guarnieri, Santi, Questa, De Fabritiis, Morelli, Ghione, Ziino, Santini, Patane, Wolf Ferrari, Erede, Annovazzi, Mitropoulos, Gavarini and Savini.
During his career, the press commented as follows:
"Excellent Alvaro ... his voice is incisive and well produced. His singing is masculine, precise and restrained". La forza del destino, Rovigo 1953
"Primo Zambruno in great form acceded to the demand of the public and repeated the stretta." Il trovatore, Brescia 1953
"He had to repeat, at the insistence of the public, Di quella pira". Il trovatore, Volterra, 1953
"He earned the explosion of enthusiasm from the public. The public was requesting that he repeated the romanza ... The curtain had to be raised and maestro Tieri had to take again his place on the podium so that Zambruno could repeat the aria." Il trovatore, Lucca, 1953
"It is the magnificent tenor Primo Zambruno who sang Manrico and had to repeat the stretta". Il trovatore, Algiers 1959
The tenor Primo Zambruno, who had previously sung here Manrico with considerable success, returned as Manrico again to a public that remembered him. His vocal generosity, his vocal skills, his ease, created great enthusiasm again. He is capable both of great vocal outbursts and delicate singing". Il trovatore, Rouen, 1959
"The romanza Celeste Aida was received with great applause and requests for bis". Aida, Verona, 1953
"The tenor Primo Zambruno had a triumphal reception from our public". Carmen, Valencia
Bellini Norma, 1955 Georges Bizet Carmen, 1954 Umberto Giordano Andrea Chénier, 1952 Leoncavallo Pagliacci, 1957 Piero Mascagni Cavalleria rusticana, 1954 Amilchare Ponchielli La Gioconda, 1957 Giacomo Puccini Tosca, 1955 Giuseppe Verdi Aida, 1953 Il trovatore, 1952 La forza del destino, 1951
Acireale 1961 Adria 1959 Agusta 1961 Alessandria 1954, 1956 Algiers 1953, 1954, 1959 Aquasola 1959 Athens 1958 Bagnacavallo 1958 Barcelona 1955 Belluno 1952 Boccadasse 1959 Bordeaux 1959 Brescia 1953 Cagliari 1956 Caltagirone 1960 Caracas 1956 Castellano 1960 Catania 1952, 1953 Cento 1958 Cremona 1957 Dublin 1955, 1959 Faenza 1954 Fiorenzuola d'Adda 1953 La Spezia 1955 Lausanne 1959 Lecco 1951 Loano 1951 London 1952 Lucca 1953 Madrid 1955 Malta 1957 Marseille 1955 Massa 1952 Mestre 1954 Modena 1951, 1955 Monte Carlo 1955 Monza 1951 Napoli 1954 Nice 1957 New York 1958 Novi Ligure 1954 Parma 1952, 1954 Philadelphia 1958 Pisa 1954 Pistoia 1954 Pontedera 1953 Prato 1953 Rimini 1954 Rosignano 1952, 1959 Rouen 1955, 1959 Rovereto 1960 Rovigo 1953 Sassari 1956 Sestri Levante 1959 Sevilla 1968 Trento 1957 Treviso 1953 Tortona 1952, 1954, 1958 Udine 1953 Valencia 1955, 1956 Varese 1951 Vercelli 1961, 1962 Verona 1953, 1955 Vigevano 1953, 1960 Volterra 1953
TIMAClub CLAMA CD-11 (Arias and scenes from Aida, Il trovatore, La forza del destino, Otello, Carmen, Pagliacci, La Gioconda and Andrea Chénier.
Reference: Boggio/Tiberi Primo Zambruno tenore, TIMAclub.