Peruvian tenor Ernesto Palacio retired from the stage as one of the most celebrated South American opera stars of his time. He was best known for his portrayals in Rossini, Donizetti, and Mozart operas. He sang at the leading operatic venues across the globe, including La Scala, Covent Garden, the Met, and the major opera houses in Dallas, Houston, Buenos Aires, and Caracas. He made numerous recordings for such labels as Erato and Sony, amassing a substantial discography of Rossini operas, which included acclaimed portrayals of Lindoro (L'italiana in Algeri), Narciso (Il turco in Italia), and Argirio (Tancredi). Palacio also appeared in lesser known operas such as Soler's Il tutore burlato, where he sang Don Lelio. In addition, Palacio gave recitals, showing a particular fondness for the songs of Manuel García. His attractive voice is often classed as a tenore di grazia, which is lighter in tone but quite flexible in technique. While Palacio retired from opera and song in 1998, he has not withdrawn from the music world altogether: he has since operated an artist management agency, guiding the careers of such successful singers as Juan Diego Flórez and Elina Garanca.
Ernesto Palacio was born in Lima, Peru, on October 19, 1946. Though he showed musical talent in his youth, he initially studied theology. After deciding on a career in music he traveled to Italy and began studies in Milan. In 1972 he won the Voci Nuovi Rossiniane, held by Radiotelevisione Italiana.
Shortly thereafter he made his debut in a radio-broadcast performance of L'italiana in Algeri, singing what would become a signature role, Lindoro. For the next decade he made appearances at La Scala, San Carlo (Naples), the Teatro Comunale (Treviso), and other major Italian opera houses. He also appeared at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Aix-en-Provence Festival, and Covent Garden. In 1980 Palacio, singing Lindoro, appeared with Marilyn Horne, Kathleen Battle, and Samuel Ramey in an acclaimed Erato recording of L'italiana in Algeri. More fortune in that role would follow: Palacio debuted as Lindoro to critical acclaim at the Met in December 1985. Palacio continued with great success for over a decade more, but retired at the relatively early age of 52. While he has remained busy with his artist management agency, many of his recordings have reappeared in the new century, including the 2007 DVD of Rossini's La scala di seta, wherein Palacio sings Dorvil.