Anatomy Of A Career

Written By Martin Kalmanoff (Revised)

General Information

When Miklós Gafni arrived in the United States from Hungary, he debuted at Town Hall and performed to a sold-out Carnegie Hall in New York City, with an overflow of three hundred people on stage. After having trained with such greats as Gigli, Pertile, and Stracciari, he made seventeen trips around the world, and journeyed one hundred thirty-seven times to Europe. From the beginning of his career until his death in 1981, he sang in opera houses all over the world, including in Vienna, London, Milan, Naples, and Rome, opposite such luminaries as Jean Madeira, Dorothy Kirsten, and Renata Tibaldi.


Miklós’ four international tours included Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, South American and the Far East. At Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy’s invitation, he was invited, on three separate occasions, to sing at the White House.


Miklós spoke eight languages and sang in twelve.



1946 — Before Miklós’ arrival in the United States, he began his career in starring  roles at the Budapest Stadtoper (City Opera
House) and sang in numerous operatic roles, including Samson, Tosca, and La Traviata.

1947— First Australian tour, Joan Sutherland auditioned for him. Miklós traveled to that region twice more, and his last world tour was in 1956 with his first wife, Jeanette.

 1949 — Carnegie and Town Hall debuts, five-page spread in Life Magazine, acclaimed as “the Hungarian Caruso,” with a ten-panel photo series, depicting him mimicking agents’ reaction to his performances, before and after his enormous triumph. Columbia Pictures produced A Voice Is Born, based on his life.


Click Here to Listen to “Non Ti Scordar Di Me”

 (“Don’t Forget Me”)

Soha Apukám!


The Ed Sullivan Show — Miklós sang an aria from Tosca. He was also featured on prime-time TV with Jack Carter and Robert Q. Lewis.


Miklós returned to Hungary and performed as a guest artist at the Stadtoper (City Opera House) in the leading roles of Pagliacci and The Masked Ball.  Critics noted that “Budapest has given the greatest ovation of all time to Miklós Gafni. Fantastic success! Packed house! They loved and cheered him.


The singer performed in Franz Lehar’s operetta’s and sang German Lieder for audiences in Berlin, Vienna, and other countries. Having sung Bel Canto roles for most of his career, he began to study Wagnerian works in the hope of being cast in Tristan und Isolde.

In the years before his death in 1981, Miklós gave many benefit concerts, to the delight of audiences of all ages.

 Miklós versatility and colorful personality compelled him to explore Broadway musicals, such as Fiddler on the Roof, although the latter goal could not be realized due to his sudden, untimely passing.

Posthumous Recognition

In 1993, Aurora Records released the CD “Miklós Gafni Sings” (Ervin G. Litkei Productions).

 In 1995, the Nelson Eddie Society  posthumously acknowledged the singer as “one of the greatest tenors of his era.”

Companies and Recordings

Columbia, Alegra, Westminster, TAP, Aurora

Neapolitan folk songs, LP of classical operatic arias,

Viennese folk songs, German Lieder

Tenor Lead in the First Complete Recording of Halevy’s La Juive

With Frances Yeend and William Wilderman

A Note From Gabriella

My father loved music, but most of all, he thrived on the love of family. His larger-than-life demeanor made an indelible impact on everyone he met—and even those who only knew of him.  He never met a stranger.  I live by his example, and my life is a dedication.  My father consumed life in all its aspects—mostly by loving people. 

His heart, therefore, is his greatest legacy.


“I love people, and I am interested in them,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what one does, but who one is in this life that counts.”


If only all the world could adopt my father’s philosophy of inclusiveness, understanding, and universality.


His light continues to illuminate the lives of every life that he affected—especially that of his family.


 Daddy, Imádjuk Örökre!