Category Archives: Opera

Donald Smith – The Great Australian Tenor

Donald Smith (1920-98) was the finest tenor Australia has yet to produce. Born in Queensland he served 7 months in a juvenile detention center for driving a car (not his) with some friends; he was 12 at the time. He worked as a sugar cane cutter for several years. In 1941 he enlisted in the…


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Finale 29 – La Traviata Act 2

La Traviata is an opera full of highlights. Much of its music its familiar to listeners who are not opera enthusiasts. But popular as it is, the finale to the second act is rarely heard apart from a complete performance. Nevertheless, this ensemble is one of Verdi’s grandest achievements. The world’s most popular opera, Traviata…


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Rosanna Carteri

Rosanna Carteri (1930-2020) was an Italian soprano who achieved great renown at a very young age. Born in Verona, she was raised in Padua. She began vocal studies before she was a teenager. By 14 she was learning complete roles under the tutelage of Ferruccio Cusinati who was the chorus master of the Verona Arena…


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Franco Corelli – 100 Years

Franco Corelli was born in April of 1921 in Ancona on the Adriatic coast. He decided to pursue an musical career later than most singers. After two unsuccessful encounters with voice teachers he resolved to train himself by intense study of the recordings of the great Italian tenors who had preceded him. After winning the…


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Finale 28 – Das Rheingold

Wagner wrote the librettos for the four Ring operas in reverse order. The music, however, was composed in the correct sequence. Das Rheingold lays the foundation for the long slog ahead. As it’s all in one act, allowing no chance for a bathroom break, it lasts only 2 hours and 20 minutes, give or take…


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Henri Legay

Henri Legay (1920-92) was a French tenor whose career was mostly based in Paris. For a while he supported himself singing while accompanying himself with a guitar at Parisian cabarets. He composed some of the songs he sang. He also played for Edith Piaf and Ives Montand. in 1947 he received a first prize from…


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Giuseppe Borgatti

Giuseppe Borgatti (1871-1950) was Italy’s first heldentenor. He was born and raised in rural northern Italy. Apparently he grew up illiterate. His voice was discovered during his compulsory military service. A wealthy patron sponsored both his musical and reading lessons. He made his operatic debut at age 21 as Gounod’s Faust. He became famous when…


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Leaping Lovers

Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! Well, the protagonists of some operas while not up to Superman’s level make some impressive leaps or jumps. No leap of faith here, has to be a real jump to make it into this article. Only in a comic opera does a jumper survive. Mozart’s The…


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Mattia Battistini

Mattia Battistini (1856-1928) was born to an upper middle class Roman family. He dropped out of university studies (what he was studying is uncertain) to take singing lessons with Venceslao Persichini at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in 1877. By the end of the following year he had made such progress that he debuted as…


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The Greatest Musical Composition Ever – 1

Obviously there’s a contradiction in my title. There can’t be more than one greatest musical composition ever written. My purpose is to list music so good that while you’re listening to it, it seems to be without peer – at least until you happen on the next greatest work. My plan for this series is…


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