The American bass, Ezio Flagello, studied at the Manhattan School of Music, where he was a pupil of Friedrich Schorr and John Brownlee. He also studied at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, in Rome, Italy, with Luigi Ricci.
Ezio Flagello made his professional debut at the Empire State Festival, in Ellenville, New York in 1955, as Dulcamara in Elisir d'amore. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut on November 9, 1957, as the Jailer in Tosca. Four days later, as a last minute replacement, he sang Leporello in Don Giovanni. He quickly became a favourite with the audience in comic roles, such as Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Dulcamara in Elisir d'amore, though he also excelled in more lyrical and dramatic repertory. In his twenty-seven seasons with the company (from 1957 to 1984), he sang, notably, Rodolfo in La Sonnambula, Giorgio in I Puritani, Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Silva in Ernani, Wurm in Luisa Miller, Sparafucile in Rigoletto, Fra Melitone in Forza del destino, Philippe II in Don Carlos, Pogner in Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg, Timur in Turandot, etc. He created the role of Enobarbus in Samuel Barber's opera Antony and Cleopatra (opera) for the opening of the new Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Centre on September 16, 1966.
Ezio Flagello also enjoyed a successful international career, appearing frequently in Vienna, Milan, Berlin, London, etc.
Ezio Flagello possessed a dark and very rich voice with a remarkable upper register extending to high A. He was particularly associated with the Italian repertory. He left an impressive discography which includes Cosi fan tutte, opposite Leontyne Price, Tatiana Troyanos, George Shirley, Sherrill Milnes, under Erich Leinsdorf; Lucrezia Borgia, opposite Montserrat Caballé, Alfredo Kraus, Shirley Verrett; Lucia di Lammermoor and Luisa Miller, both opposite Anna Moffo and Carlo Bergonzi; Rigoletto, opposite Robert Merrill and under Georg Solti; Ernani, Ballo in maschera, Forza del destino, all opposite Leontyne Price. He also recorded George Frideric Handel's Alcina and Bellini's I Puritani, both opposite Joan Sutherland. He also interpreted the role of Harapha in the famous Archiv recording of G.F. Handel's oratorio Samson (1968).
Ezio Flagello retired from the stage in 1987. He is the brother of composer Nicolas Flagello. He was married to Italian-American writer Anna Mione, with whom he had four children.
In addition to his operatic career, he had a small role in the flashback sequences in The Godfather Part II (1974) as an impressario threatened by Don