Category Archives: Baritones

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…


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Recording of the Week: Leonard Warren 10 CD Set

Leonard Warren (1911-60) was the greatest baritone I ever heard. In the major Verdi parts no one else was close. He had everything. A voice of immense size, incomparable high notes, and a velvet control over his great instrument. He made his career at the Met, appearing at that great house 657 times between 1938 and…


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Robert Merrill Rareties

Robert Merrill (1917-2004) was one of the 20th centuries greatest baritones. His career at the Metropolitan Opera  overlapped those of all the other great American baritones. When he debuted at the Met in 1945 Lawrence Tibbett was still singing at the New York house while Leonard Warren was beginning his tenure as the world’s greatest…


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Lawrence Tibbett

Lawrence Tibbett (1896-1960) – born in Bakersfield, California – was the first in a succession of great American baritones who have been dominant performers at the Metropolitan Opera and throughout the world during much of the 20th century. He made his Met debut in 1923 as Lavitsky in Boris Godunov. For the next few years he…


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Antenore Reali – Italian Baritone

Antenore Reali (1897-1960)) was a baritone active from 1921 until 1952 when he was forced to retire because of ill health. Even serious opera lovers may not have heard of him. After listening to his recordings you will likely share my surprise at his obscurity. He may have gone relatively unnoticed for several reasons. His…


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Leonard Warren’s 100th Birthday

Leonard Warren was born April 21, 1911. No baritone within living memory has matched him in the great Verdi baritone roles Below is the big second act aria from the most challenging of Verdi’s baritone roles – the title character from Rigoletto. He sang this part 89 times with at the Met both in New…


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Dimitri Platanias

Dimitri Platanias is a Greek baritone just emerging onto the international stage. He has a big beefy baritone that seems ideal for Verdi. A great Verdi baritone is about as rare an operatic bird as can be found in the lyric aviary. The scarcity of the breed is the consequence of Verdi’s writing much of his…


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Giuseppe Taddei

The renowned Italian baritone Giuseppe Taddei died June 2 just short of his 94th birthday. Taddei made most of his career in Italy and Vienna. He didn’t sing at the Met until 1985 when at age 69 he debuted at the New York house in the title role of Verdi’s Falstaff. There are a number…


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Ettore Bastianini

Ettore Bastianini was born and died in Sienna (1922 – 1967). From 1945 to 1951 he sang as a bass. He was good enough to sing at La Scala. But by ’51 he was convinced that he was a baritone. He reworked his technique and debuted as a baritone in 1952 without a lot of…


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Why Giuseppe Di Stefano Was Unique

Giuseppe Di Stefano (1921-2008) occupies a special place on the list of the greatest tenors of the last century. I will try to show why with a few examples of his singing recorded when he was at his best. You will often hear singers and critics admit to admiring the “young” Di Stefano. When you do…


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