Category Archives: Baritones

Giuseppe Bellantoni

Giuseppe Bellantoni (1880-1946) was another outstanding Italian baritone whom opera seems to have forgotten. Born in Messina, Sicily he went to Rome in his early 20s to study under the legendary baritone Antonio Cotogni (1831-1918). Alas, Cortogni’s career preceded the recording era. Everyone including Verdi and Toscanini thought him the prince of baritones. When his…


Read the full entry

Domenico Viglione Borghese

Domenico Viglione Borghese (1877-1957) was an Italian baritone who was active at a time when there was an abundance of first rate Italian baritones. This unusual confluence of fine singers explains why Viglione Borghese is virtually forgotten today. Born the same years as Tita Ruffo, his path to the top of the operatic world was…


Read the full entry

The Met’s House Baritones

I’m using the same criterion to define a Met house baritone as I did for the company’s tenors; ie, more than 500 performances in leading roles. This rule yields 11 baritones over the life of the Met – almost twice as many as for the tenors. They’re presented below by the number of shows they…


Read the full entry

Finale 20 – Vengeance

The second act of Rigoletto ends with perhaps the most furious music in all opera. The hunchback jester’s daughter, Gilda, has just been raped by the Duke whom she had fallen in love with thinking he was a poor student until reality intruded with awful suddenness. And worse, she still loves him. The Duke having…


Read the full entry

Recording of the Week – Hvorostovsky as Rigoletto

Dmitri Hvorostovsky did not record the Verdi baritone’s summa, Rigoletto, until 2016 – a year after he was diagnosed with brain cancer. This recording was released by Delos near the end of last year shortly before the singer’s death. Rigoletto was not at the core of the great baritone’s repertoire. Of his 182 performances at…


Read the full entry

Pavel Lisitsian

Pavel Lisitsian (1911-2004) was a Russian baritone of Armenian heritage. He started work as a laborer. When his vocal talent was recognized he trained at the Leningrad Conservatory. His vocal career started in that city at the Maly Leningrad State Opera. From 1940 until his retirement from the opera stage in 1966 he was a…


Read the full entry

Dmitri Hvorostovsky – Arias and Duets

The great Russian baritone died on Nov 22, 2017, two and a half years after announcing that he was suffering from a brain tumor. He was born in 1962 and escaped a difficult environment by virtue of his singing ability. The Siberian singer was clearly the best Italian style baritone of his era. His voice…


Read the full entry

Finale 15 – Rigoletto Act 2

Rigoletto is an opera the marks the beginning of a new style of composing for Verdi. It is a work filled with invention, but the end of Act 2 reprises the Verdi of Nabucco and Ernani. Just belt it out and sweep the audience away. Of course, no one sings the concluding duet between Rigoletto…


Read the full entry

Riccardo Stracciari

Recently, I posted an article about my choices for the 10 best baritones of the 20th century. Absent from this list was Ricardo Stracciari (1875-1955). Stracciari was such a great singer that I am uncertain why I omitted him. He was born in Casalecchio di Reno and died in Rome. In between he sang at…


Read the full entry

The 10 Best Baritones of the 20th Century

My piece on the 10 best tenors of the 20th century proved popular, so here’s a go at the 10 best baritones of the same epoch. Again, I emphasize that what follows is merely a personal opinion. I make no claim to omniscience. Readers are encouraged to make their own list. Actually, there are 11…


Read the full entry

Categories