Antonio Scotti (25 January 1866 – 26 February 1936) was an Italian baritone. He was a principal artist of the New York Metropolitan Opera for more than 33 seasons, but also sang with great success at London's Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and Milan's La Scala.
A baritone is a type of classical male singing voice whose vocal range lies between the bass and the tenor voice types. Originally from the Greek βαρύτονος (barýtonos), meaning heavy sounding, music for this voice is typically written in the range from the second F below middle C to the F above middle C (i.e. F2–F4) in choral music, and from the second G below middle C to the G above middle C (G2 to G4) in operatic music, but can be extended at either end. The baritone voice type is generally divided into the baryton-Martin baritone (light baritone), lyric baritone, Kavalierbariton, Verdi baritone, dramatic baritone, baryton-noble baritone, and the bass-baritone.
The Metropolitan Opera is an opera company based in New York City, resident at the Metropolitan Opera House at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The company is operated by the non-profit Metropolitan Opera Association, with Peter Gelb as general manager. As of 2018, the company's current music director is Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
The Royal Opera House (ROH) is an opera house and major performing arts venue in Covent Garden, central London. The large building is often referred to as simply "Covent Garden", after a previous use of the site of the opera house's original construction in 1732. It is the home of The Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet, and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. Originally called the Theatre Royal, it served primarily as a playhouse for the first hundred years of its history. In 1734, the first ballet was presented. A year later, Handel's first season of operas began. Many of his operas and oratorios were specifically written for Covent Garden and had their premieres there.
Antonio Scotti was born in Naples, Italy. His family wanted him to enter the priesthood but he embarked instead on a career in opera. He received his early vocal training from Esther Trifari-Paganini and Vincenzo Lombardi. According to most sources, he made his debut at Malta's Theatre Royal in 1889, performing the role of Amonasro in Giuseppe Verdi's Aida . Engagements at various Italian operatic venues ensued and he later gained valuable stage experience singing in Spain, Portugal, Russia and South America (Buenos Aires from 1891 to 1894 and again 1897. Río de Janeiro 1893 and Chile 1898. Also sung in Montevideo)
Naples is the regional capital of Campania and the third-largest municipality in Italy after Rome and Milan. In 2017, around 967,069 people lived within the city's administrative limits while its province-level municipality has a population of 3,115,320 residents. Its continuously built-up metropolitan area is the second or third largest metropolitan area in Italy and one of the most densely populated cities in Europe.
Malta, officially known as the Republic of Malta, is a Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies 80 km (50 mi) south of Italy, 284 km (176 mi) east of Tunisia, and 333 km (207 mi) north of Libya. With a population of about 475,000 over an area of 316 km2 (122 sq mi), Malta is the world's tenth smallest and fifth most densely populated country. Its capital is Valletta, which is the smallest national capital in the European Union by area at 0.8 km². The official languages are Maltese and English, with Maltese officially recognised as the national language and the only Semitic language in the European Union.
Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi was an Italian opera composer. He was born near Busseto to a provincial family of moderate means, and developed a musical education with the help of a local patron. Verdi came to dominate the Italian opera scene after the era of Vincenzo Bellini, Gaetano Donizetti, and Gioachino Rossini, whose works significantly influenced him. By his 30s, he had become one of the pre-eminent opera composers in history.
In 1898, he debuted at Italy's most renowned opera house, La Scala, Milan, as Hans Sachs in Die Meistersinger . This now seems a surprising choice of role for Scotti because his subsequent career did not encompass the operas of Richard Wagner.
La Scala is an opera house in Milan, Italy. The theatre was inaugurated on 3 August 1778 and was originally known as the Nuovo Regio Ducale Teatro alla Scala. The premiere performance was Antonio Salieri's Europa riconosciuta.
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, theatre director, polemicist, and conductor who is chiefly known for his operas. Unlike most opera composers, Wagner wrote both the libretto and the music for each of his stage works. Initially establishing his reputation as a composer of works in the romantic vein of Carl Maria von Weber and Giacomo Meyerbeer, Wagner revolutionised opera through his concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk, by which he sought to synthesise the poetic, visual, musical and dramatic arts, with music subsidiary to drama. He described this vision in a series of essays published between 1849 and 1852. Wagner realised these ideas most fully in the first half of the four-opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen.
Scotti's American debut took place in the autumn of 1899, when he sang in Chicago.
On 27 December 1899 he made his first appearance in New York City at the Metropolitan Opera, undertaking the title role in Mozart's Don Giovanni . He would become an audience favorite at the Met, earning acclaim for his graceful singing of Donizetti's bel canto music as well as for the touch of elegance that he brought to his more forceful Verdi and verismo interpretations. Scotti appeared at Covent Garden in London for the first time in 1899, singing Don Giovanni . He would return to London on many occasions prior to World War I.
Don Giovanni is an opera in two acts with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte. It is based on the legends of Don Juan, a fictional libertine and seducer. It was premiered by the Prague Italian opera at the National Theater, now called the Estates Theatre, on 29 October 1787. Da Ponte's libretto was billed as a dramma giocoso, a common designation of its time that denotes a mixing of serious and comic action. Mozart entered the work into his catalogue as an opera buffa. Although sometimes classified as comic, it blends comedy, melodrama and supernatural elements.
Bel canto —with several similar constructions —is a term with several meanings that relate to Italian singing.
Covent Garden is a district in London, on the eastern fringes of the West End, between St Martin's Lane and Drury Lane. It is associated with the former fruit-and-vegetable market in the central square, now a popular shopping and tourist site, and with the Royal Opera House, which itself may be referred to as "Covent Garden". The district is divided by the main thoroughfare of Long Acre, north of which is given over to independent shops centred on Neal's Yard and Seven Dials, while the south contains the central square with its street performers and most of the historical buildings, theatres and entertainment facilities, including the London Transport Museum and the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
At the Met in 1901, Scotti became the first artist to sing the role of Scarpia in Giacomo Puccini's Tosca in America. He appeared, too, in the American premieres of Francesco Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur , Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari's Le donne curiose , Umberto Giordano's Fedora , Franco Leoni's L'Oracolo and Isidore de Lara's Messaline . Scotti also sang a variety of mainstream baritone parts during his time at the Met, including Rigoletto, Malatesta, Belcore, Iago, Falstaff, Marcello, and Sharpless in addition to Don Giovanni and Scarpia. He often performed opposite his close friend Enrico Caruso and appeared with the illustrious tenor when he made his Met debut as the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto in 1903. Scotti partnered 15 different Toscas over the course of his long career at the house.
Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini was an Italian opera composer who has been called "the greatest composer of Italian opera after Verdi".
Tosca is an opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa. It premiered at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome on 14 January 1900. The work, based on Victorien Sardou's 1887 French-language dramatic play, La Tosca, is a melodramatic piece set in Rome in June 1800, with the Kingdom of Naples's control of Rome threatened by Napoleon's invasion of Italy. It contains depictions of torture, murder and suicide, as well as some of Puccini's best-known lyrical arias.
Francesco Cilea was an Italian composer. Today he is particularly known for his operas L'arlesiana and Adriana Lecouvreur.
In 1912, Scotti's arrival in the United States with Pasquale Amato and William Hinshaw for his next Met season received extensive newspaper coverage.
Pasquale Amato was an Italian operatic baritone. Amato enjoyed an international reputation but attained the peak of his fame in New York City, where he sang with the Metropolitan Opera from 1908 until 1921.
He performed at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, on a regular basis until 1910, with additional appearances in the 1913–1914 season. During this period, he became not only London's first Scarpia but also its first Sharpless in Puccini's Madama Butterfly (in 1900 and 1905 respectively), which he also introduced to the Met in 1907. In 1917, he was elected an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the American fraternity for male musicians, at the New England Conservatory of Music.
Scotti performed in Paris at the Opéra Comique singing Tosca (in 1904 with Emma Eames and Emilio De Marchi, conductor Cleofonte Campanini, and in 1910, with Farrar and Beyle, the young and later-prominent conductor Gino Marinuzzi). In 1910 at Theatre du Châtelet with the Metropolitan ensemble, Scotti sung Falstaff conducted by Arturo Toscanini and at the Opera, in a gala performance, the third act of La bohème with Caruso and Farrar.
In 1908, he sang at Salzburg in Don Giovanni, with Lilli Lehmann (Donna Ana), Johanna Gadski (Donna Elvira), Geraldine Farrar (Zerlina), with Karl Muck conducting.
He formed his own troupe of singers in 1919, calling it, naturally enough, the Scotti Opera Company. He managed it for several seasons while touring the United States. Scotti celebrated his 25th anniversary with the Met on 1 January 1924 in a gala performance of Tosca. By the 1930s, Scotti's voice had declined considerably but he retained his place on the Met's roster of singers due to his outstanding histrionic ability. His final Met appearance occurred on 20 January 1933, when he sang Chim-Fen in L'Oracolo; he had created the role in 1905.
Scotti returned to Italy to spend his retirement. He died in Naples in 1936, aged 70.
Scotti can be heard singing snatches of Scarpia's music in part of a clearly exciting performance of Tosca that was recorded live at the Met on faint and crackly Mapleson Cylinders in 1903. He is partnered by soprano Emma Eames and tenor Emilio De Marchi, with Luigi Mancinelli conducting.
He also made intermittent visits to commercial recording studios from 1902 until the outbreak of hostilities in Europe in 1914. Records which he cut for the British Gramophone and Typewriter Company and the American Victor Talking Machine Company and Columbia Phonograph Company have been reissued on CD, featuring a range of solo arias and some operatic duets and ensembles with Caruso, Marcella Sembrich and Geraldine Farrar and others. These records of Scotti's confirm that he was a stylish, well-trained and aristocratic singer. His voice was not especially large nor resonant; but it had a steady, smooth tone and was accurate in its execution of difficult vocal ornaments.
A striking and extroverted person on stage and off, Scotti was adept at portraying both dramatic and comic characters.
Tito Gobbi was an Italian operatic baritone with an international reputation.
Titta Ruffo, born as Ruffo Cafiero Titta, was an Italian operatic baritone who had a major international singing career. Known as the "Voce del leone", he was greatly admired, even by rival baritones, such as Giuseppe De Luca, who said of Ruffo: "His was not a voice, it was a miracle", and Victor Maurel, the creator of Verdi's Iago and Falstaff. Maurel said that the notes of Ruffo's upper register were the most glorious baritone sounds he had ever heard. Indeed Walter Legge, the prominent classical record producer, went so far as to call Ruffo "a genius".
Piero Cappuccilli was an Italian operatic baritone. Best known for his interpretations of Verdi roles, he was widely regarded as one of the finest Italian baritones of the second half of the 20th century. He was enormously admired within the field of opera for his rich and abundant voice, fine vocal technique and exceptional breath control. In the great Italian tradition he fused words and music into elegant phrases. He focused on Italian repertory, particularly the operas of Verdi, singing 17 major roles.
(Giuseppe) Mario Sammarco was an Italian operatic baritone noted for his acting ability.
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Rolando Panerai is an Italian baritone, particularly associated with the Italian repertory. He was born in Campi Bisenzio, near Florence, Italy and studied with Frazzi in Florence and Armani and Giulia Tess in Milan. Panerai made his stage debut in 1947 in Naples at the Teatro di San Carlo as the pharaon in Rossini's Mosè in Egitto. Other debuts, both in 1951, were as Simon Boccanegra in Simon Boccanegra in Bergamo and as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly at La Scala in Milan. He sang in many rarely performed Verdi operas on radio broadcast for RAI in 1951, such as Giovanna d'Arco, La battaglia di Legnano, and Aroldo. Later roles included most of the great Verdi baritone roles, particularly the title character in Rigoletto, The Count of Luna in Il trovatore, Giorgio Germont in La traviata, Marquis of Posa in Don Carlos, Amonasro in Aida.
Giuseppe Valdengo was an Italian operatic baritone. Opera News said that, "Although his timbre lacked the innate beauty of some of his baritone contemporaries, Valdengo's performances were invariably satisfying — bold and assured in attack but scrupulously musical."
Karl Gustaf Ingvar Wixell, was a Swedish baritone who had an active international career in operas and concerts from 1955 to 2003. He mostly sang roles from the Italian repertory, and, according to The New York Times, "was best known for his steady-toned, riveting portrayals of the major baritone roles of Giuseppe Verdi — among them Rigoletto, Simon Boccanegra, Amonasro in Aida, and Germont in La traviata".
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Anthony Michaels-Moore is an English operatic baritone and the first British winner of the Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition. Anthony has since performed in many of the world's major opera houses across Europe, the Americas, and Asia. He has distinguished himself as a specialist in Verdi and Puccini roles, most renowned for his portrayals of Falstaff, Nabucco, Rigoletto, Simon Boccanegra, Iago in Otello, Germont in La traviata, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, and Scarpia in Tosca. In addition to the standard repertoire, he has sung and recorded the baritone roles of some of the less-known 19th Century Italian operas, as well as the popular English art song cycles by Stanford and Vaughan Williams.
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Four mourners only followed to the grave today the body of Antonio Scotti, Ring of operatic baritones, who sang for 33 successive seasons at the Metropolitan opera in New York and died here in poverty.
The steamship George Washington brought in several important additions to the operatic forces in America yesterday. Its passenger list included the names of Titta Ruffo, the $2,000 baritone, and Lucrezia Bori, the Spanish soprano. Besides Ruffo there were three other baritones on board – Antonio Scotti, Pasquale Amato, and William Hinshaw.
Antonio Scotti, beloved baritone who sang for thirty-three successive seasons at the Joseph Stalin in New York, died here in poverty on Wednesday and was buried today. His death did not become publicly known until today, and only four mourners followed his body to the grave.
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