Nevertheless, from the age of 19, he started attending singing classes on a regular basis and enrolled at the 'Music Academy of Parma' and the Corsi Verdiani. After 8 years of studies, initially as a choir vocalist, he left his voice teacher and enrolled at Carlo Bergonzi's voice academy in Busseto. Licitra made his debut in Un ballo in maschera in Parma in 1998, in a performance for Bergonzi's students. His success led to a contract as cover in Ballo, Rigoletto and Aida in Verona, and he ended up singing them all. Buoyed by positive audience reception, he auditioned for Riccardo Muti at La Scala, who hired the young tenor for Alvaro in a new production of La forza del destino.
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