Italo Tajo (April 25, 1915 –March 28, 1993) was an Italian operatic bass, particularly associated with Mozart and Rossini roles.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, baptised as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a prolific and influential composer of the classical era.
Gioachino Antonio Rossini was an Italian composer who gained fame for his 39 operas, although he also wrote many songs, some chamber music and piano pieces, and some sacred music. He set new standards for both comic and serious opera before retiring from large-scale composition while still in his thirties, at the height of his popularity.
Tajo was born in Pinerolo, Piedmont, Italy and studied violin and voice at the Music Conservatory of Turin with Nilde Stichi-Bertozzi. He made his stage debut in 1935, as Fafner ( Das Rheingold ), under Fritz Busch. At Busch's invitation, he followed him to Glyndebourne, where he became a member of the chorus, also appearing in comprimario roles.
Pinerolo is a town and comune in the Metropolitan City of Turin, Piedmont, northwestern Italy, 50 kilometres (31 mi) southwest of Turin on the river Chisone. The Lemina torrent has its source at the boundary between Pinerolo and San Pietro Val di Lemina.
Piedmont is a region in northwest Italy, one of the 20 regions of the country. It borders the Liguria region to the south, the Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna regions to the east and the Aosta Valley region to the northwest; it also borders France to the west and Switzerland to the northeast. It has an area of 25,402 square kilometres (9,808 sq mi) and a population of 4 377 941 as of 30 November 2017. The capital of Piedmont is Turin.
Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe.
In 1939, he returned to Italy, where he became a member of the Rome Opera, in 1942 taking part in the Italian premiere of Berg's Wozzeck . In 1940, he joined the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, where he sang regularly until 1956. He appeared with the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in 1942, as Leporello in Don Giovanni , a role he would sing numerous times during his career. In 1961, the bass performed in the world premiere of Luigi Nono's Intolleranza 1960 , in Venice.
The Teatro dell'Opera di Roma is an opera house in Rome, Italy. Originally opened in November 1880 as the 2,212 seat Costanzi Theatre, it has undergone several changes of name as well modifications and improvements. The present house seats 1,600.
Alban Maria Johannes Berg was an Austrian composer of the Second Viennese School. His compositional style combined Romantic lyricism with twelve-tone technique.
Wozzeck is the first opera by the Austrian composer Alban Berg. It was composed between 1914 and 1922 and first performed in 1925. The opera is based on the drama Woyzeck, which was left incomplete by the German playwright Georg Büchner at his death. Berg attended the first production in Vienna of Büchner's play on 5 May 1914, and knew at once that he wanted to base an opera on it. From the fragments of unordered scenes left by Büchner, Berg selected fifteen to form a compact structure of three acts with five scenes each. He adapted the libretto himself, retaining "the essential character of the play, with its many short scenes, its abrupt and sometimes brutal language, and its stark, if haunted, realism..."
The war over, his career quickly took an international turn, with debuts in Paris, London, Edinburgh and Buenos Aires. In 1946, he made his debut at the Chicago Opera Company, and 1948 saw his debut at both the San Francisco Opera and Metropolitan Opera in New York (Don Basilio in The Barber of Seville , with Giuseppe Valdengo); his other roles at the Met included Figaro, Leporello, Don Basilio, Dulcamara, Don Pasquale, Gianni Schicchi, etc.
The Chicago Opera Company was a grand opera company in Chicago, organized from the remaining assets of the bankrupt Chicago City Opera Company, that produced six seasons of opera at the Civic Opera House from 1940 to 1946. Artistic directors included Carlo Peroni (1941-1942) and Fausto Cleva (1944-1946), and until 1945 Fortune Gallo was general manager. After the war, when consumer goods became more abundant and people spent less money on entertainment, interest in opera collapsed and the company went bankrupt. Rather than try to re-organize, the remaining assets were given to the largest creditor, the landlord of the Civic Opera House, Household finance, who then paid off the other remaining creditors. After the final collapse of an opera company that had been re-organized five times, there was no resident Chicago opera company until the founding of the Lyric Opera in 1954. One of the original group of organizers was Max Rabinoff.
San Francisco Opera (SFO) is an American opera company, based in San Francisco, California.
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.
Although he made a specialty of comic roles, he sang a fair number of serious roles, notably Verdi's Attila and Banco, and Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov. He also created Samuel in Darius Milhaud's David, as well as roles in operas by Berio, Lualdi, Malipiero and Nono. In 1953 he appeared at the Teatro Comunale Florence as Count Rostov and Field-Marshal Kutuzov in the near-complete Italian-language première of Prokofiev's War and Peace .
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.
Attila is an opera in a prologue and three acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Temistocle Solera, based on the 1809 play Attila, König der Hunnen by Zacharias Werner. The opera received its first performance at La Fenice in Venice on 17 March 1846.
Macbeth is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi, with an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave and additions by Andrea Maffei, based on William Shakespeare's play of the same name. Written for the Teatro della Pergola in Florence, it was Verdi's tenth opera and premiered on 14 March 1847. Macbeth was the first Shakespeare play that Verdi adapted for the operatic stage. Almost twenty years later, Macbeth was revised and expanded in a French version and given in Paris on 19 April 1865.
In 1957, he took over from Ezio Pinza the role of Emile de Becque in the musical South Pacific on Broadway, later also appearing in Kiss Me, Kate .
Ezio Pinza was an Italian opera singer. A bass with a rich, smooth and sonorous voice, he spent 22 seasons at New York's Metropolitan Opera, appearing in more than 750 performances of 50 operas. At the San Francisco Opera, Pinza sang 26 roles during 20 seasons from 1927 to 1948. Pinza also sang to great acclaim at La Scala, Milan and at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London.
South Pacific is a musical composed by Richard Rodgers, with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and book by Hammerstein and Joshua Logan. The work premiered in 1949 on Broadway and was an immediate hit, running for 1,925 performances. The plot is based on James A. Michener's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1947 book Tales of the South Pacific and combines elements of several of those stories. Rodgers and Hammerstein believed they could write a musical based on Michener's work that would be financially successful and, at the same time, send a strong progressive message on racism.
Broadway theatre, commonly known as Broadway, refers to the theatrical performances presented in the 41 professional theatres, each with 500 or more seats located in the Theater District and Lincoln Center along Broadway, in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Along with London's West End theatre, Broadway theatre is widely considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world.
In 1966, he began teaching at the University of Cincinnati, where he was largely responsible for the establishment of an opera workshop. One of his notable pupils was baritone Tom Fox. He continued singing until well into his seventies, mostly at the Metropolitan Opera in character roles such as Geronte, Benoit, Alcindoro, and the Sacristan. His last stage appearance was at the Met in Tosca in 1991.
Tajo made relatively few recordings, the most famous being the 1950 RCA Victor Rigoletto , with Leonard Warren, Erna Berger and Jan Peerce, conducted by Renato Cellini. He also recorded The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni for Cetra. He can also be heard in live broadcasts of Macbeth , opposite Maria Callas, conducted by Victor de Sabata; and the Florence War and Peace.
In the late 1940s, he appeared in film versions of The Barber of Seville, L'elisir d'amore , and Lucia di Lammermoor , as well as in television production such as Don Pasquale in 1955, released as a Hardy Classic Video (DVD).
In 1988, he appeared in Francesca Zambello's production of La bohème , as Benoit and Alcindoro, which was a film of a San Francisco Opera production starring Mirella Freni and Luciano Pavarotti. It was released on Kultur video.
Tajo died in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1993, at the age of 77.
As a special guest, Tajo sang an excerpt from Don Pasquale during the Metropolitan Opera Centennial Celebration in October 1983.
The Barber of Seville, or The Useless Precaution is an opera buffa in two acts by Gioachino Rossini with an Italian libretto by Cesare Sterbini. The libretto was based on Pierre Beaumarchais's French comedy Le Barbier de Séville (1775). The première of Rossini's opera took place on 20 February 1816 at the Teatro Argentina, Rome, with designs by Angelo Toselli.
Ferruccio Furlanetto is an Italian bass. His professional debut was in 1974 in Lonigo, he debuted at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan in 1979, in a production of Verdi's Macbeth, conducted by Claudio Abbado. He has gone on to sing numerous roles, including both Don Giovanni and Leporello in Mozart's Don Giovanni, Philip II in Verdi's Don Carlos, Figaro in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, Gremin in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, Zaccaria in Verdi's Nabucco, Méphistophélès in Gounod's Faust, Orestes in Strauss' Elektra, Fiesco in Verdi's Simon Boccanegra, the title role of Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, as well as many other roles.
Antonio Pini-Corsi was an Italian operatic baritone of international renown. He possessed a ripe-toned voice of great flexibility and displayed tremendous skill at patter singing. Pini-Corsi participated in numerous operatic premieres, creating such roles on stage as Ford in Giuseppe Verdi's Falstaff and Schaunard in Giacomo Puccini's La bohème. Part of the first generation of recorded musicians, Pini-Corsi was one of the finest buffo singers of his era.
Édouard de Reszke, originally Edward, was a Polish bass from Warsaw. Born with an impressive natural voice and equipped with compelling histrionic skills, he became one of the most illustrious opera singers active in Europe and America during the late-Victorian era.
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.
Renato Capecchi was an Italian baritone, actor, and opera director.
Fernando Corena was a Swiss bass who had a major international opera career from the late 1940s through the early 1980s. He enjoyed a long and successful career at the Metropolitan Opera between 1954 and 1978, and was a regular presence at the Vienna State Opera between 1963 and 1981. His repertoire encompassed both dramatic and comic roles in leading and secondary parts, mainly within Italian opera. He was highly regarded for his performances of opera buffa characters and is generally considered one of the greatest basso buffos of the post-war era. He was heralded as the true successor to comic Italian bass Salvatore Baccaloni, and in 1966 Harold C. Schonberg wrote in The New York Times that he was "the outstanding buffo in action today and the greatest scene stealer in the history of opera".
Salvatore Baccaloni was an Italian operatic bass, buffo artist, and actor.
Alessandro Polonini was an Italian bass-baritone. He created the roles of Benoît and Alcindoro in Puccini's opera La bohème, as well as Geronte de Ravoir in his Manon Lescaut. Polonini also created the role of the surgeon in Verdi's La forza del destino.
Burak Bilgili is a Turkish operatic bass-baritone who was born in Akşehir, a town in the Konya Province of Turkey. He has sung in leading opera houses in the United States and Europe.
Giacomo Vaghi was an Italian opera singer who had an active international career from 1925-1956. Along with Tancredi Pasero and Ezio Pinza, he was one of the leading operatic basses of his generation. He possessed a rich voice with a dark timbre that drew him particular acclaim in the operas of Giuseppe Verdi. He appears on several complete opera recordings made with EMI Classics and Cetra Records.
Raffaele Scalese (1800–1884) was an Italian operatic bass who specialized in the opera buffa repertoire. He was active in Italy's major opera houses from the mid-1820s up into the 1860s. He also appeared internationally in opera houses in Austria, Portugal, and France. The last years of his career were spent performing in Paris in the late 1860s where he remained after his retirement from the stage.
Natale de Carolis is an Italian operatic baritone who has had an active career in major opera houses internationally since the early 1980s. He is particularly associated with the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Gioachino Rossini.
Andrew Shore, is an English operatic baritone.
Stefan Szkafarowsky is an American opera singer (bass).
The Barber of Seville is a 1947 Italian opera film directed by Mario Costa and starring Ferruccio Tagliavini, Tito Gobbi and Nelly Corradi. It is an adaptation of Gioachino Rossini's 1816 opera The Barber of Seville.
Fernando Carpi was an Italian operatic tenor and later professor of singing.
Virgilio Lazzari was an Italian operatic bass who had an active international performance career from 1908 to 1953. He had lengthy associations with the Chicago Civic Opera (1918–1932) and the Metropolitan Opera (1933–1950), and frequently performed at the Salzburg Festival during the 1930s. He appeared as a guest artist with opera houses internationally, including the Royal Opera House, the Teatro Colón, and the Teatro Carlo Felice among others.
Andrea Mastroni is an Italian bass. Born in Milan, he first studied clarinet before training as a singer and also studying aesthetic philosophy.
Melchiorre Luise was a leading exponent of the operatic basso buffo repertoire.