Category Archives: Tenors

Mario Lanza – 100th Birthday

For all sad words of tongue and pen, The saddest are these, ‘It might have been’. John Greenleaf Whittier January 31, 2021 is the 100th anniversary of the birth Alfredo Arnold Cocozza known to posterity as Mario Lanza; Lanza was his mother’s maiden name. A native of Philadelphia, he was the son of Italian immigrants…


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Richard Crooks

Richard Crooks (1900-72) was an American tenor. Born in New Jersey he started his singing career as an oratorio specialist. He studied with baritone Leon Rothier and vocal coach Frank La Forge. In 1927 he went to Germany where he made his operatic debut as Cavaradossi in Tosca. In 1930 he made his American operatic…


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No! Pagliaccio Non Son

Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci was first performed at Milan’s Teatro Dal Verme in 1892 – Arturo Toscanini conducted. It rapidly spread throughout the operatic world and like its frequent partner, Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana, it was its composer’s only unalloyed success. The opera’s protagonist, Canio leader of a band of itinerant performers, is married to a much younger…


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Le Rêve

Massenet’s Manon was first performed at the Opéra-Comique in Paris in 1884. It rapidly became a staple of the operatic repertory and has remained so to this day. I’m ignoring the shuttered state of everything public at present. The opera has two big roles. The title character and her hormone addled lover the Chevalier Des…


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Yossele Rosenblatt

When I was a kid in New York, Yossele Rosenblatt (1882-1933) was a figure whose memory was still fresh. There were many who had heard him sing and spoke about his voice in the same awed tones as did opera goers who remembered Caruso. Rosenblatt was a Ukrainian born chazzan (cantor) who came from a…


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Hipólito Lázaro

Hipólito Lázaro (1887-1974 ) was a Catalan tenor. He was born and died in Barcelona. His career began in 1910 and continued until 1950. Though he was a lirico-spinto, he made his debut in Donizetti’s La Favorita and scored a great success as Arturo in Bellini’s final opera I Puritani. Despite his success with bel…


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Cessa di più Resistere

‘Cessa di più resistere’ is the tenor aria that closes Rossini’s Barber of Seville. There’s a few minutes of music that follows it, but the bravura piece is effectively the opera’s end. That is when it’s performed. It’s so difficult that that it was dropped from the opera shortly after it’s premiere in 1816. So…


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Richard Tauber

A reader recently asked why I had not written anything about Richard Tauber. I didn’t have a good answer and said I would; this is it. Tauber (1891-1948) was born in Linz, Austria to an unmarried actress. His father was an actor Richard Anton Tauber who eventually acknowledged him and took over his upbringing. Young…


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Lethal Tenors

Serious operas typically end with one or more of the principals dead. The tenor is more often victim than perp. The following excerpts are from operas where the tenor is the killer, an unusual occurrence in an art form where tenors are usually the good guys. First Verdi’s Luisa Miller. The following description is adapted…


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Recondita Armonia

Tosca has two great tenor arias. Everyone knows the third act’s ‘E lucevan le stelle’. ‘Recondita armonia’, the subject of this article, appears in the first act only minutes after the show has started. It requires a different approach from its more famous brother. It needs a full voiced sound without the filatura and pianissimo…


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