Luigi Lablache

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Portrait of Luigi Lablache Luigi Lablache.jpg
Portrait of Luigi Lablache

Luigi Lablache (6 December 1794 – 23 January 1858) was an Italian opera singer of French and Irish ancestry. He was most noted for his comic performances, possessing a powerful and agile bass voice, a wide range, and adroit acting skills: Leporello in Don Giovanni was one of his signature roles.

Opera Artform combining sung text and musical score in a theatrical setting

Opera is a form of theatre in which music has a leading role and the parts are taken by singers, but is distinct from musical theater. Such a "work" is typically a collaboration between a composer and a librettist and incorporates a number of the performing arts, such as acting, scenery, costume, and sometimes dance or ballet. The performance is typically given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble, which since the early 19th century has been led by a conductor.

A bass ( BAYSS) is a type of classical male singing voice and has the lowest vocal range of all voice types. According to The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, a bass is typically classified as having a vocal range extending from around the second E below middle C to the E above middle C (i.e., E2–E4). Its tessitura, or comfortable range, is normally defined by the outermost lines of the bass clef. Categories of bass voices vary according to national style and classification system. Italians favour subdividing basses into the basso cantante (singing bass), basso buffo ("funny" bass), or the dramatic basso profondo (low bass). The American system identifies the bass-baritone, comic bass, lyric bass, and dramatic bass. The German fach system offers further distinctions: Spielbass (Bassbuffo), Schwerer Spielbass (Schwerer Bassbuffo), Charakterbass (Bassbariton), and Seriöser Bass. These classification systems can overlap. Rare is the performer who embodies a single fach without also touching repertoire from another category.

<i>Don Giovanni</i> opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Don Giovanni is an opera in two acts with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte, who used the original piece written by Tirso de Molina as model. It is based on the myth born in the context of the Spanish Baroque 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.



Luigi Lablache was born in Naples, the son of Nicolas Lablache, a merchant from Marseille, France, by an Irish lady. He was educated from 1806 at the Conservatorio della Pietà de' Turchini in Naples, where Gentili taught him the elements of music, and Valesi instructed him in singing, while at the same time he studied the violin and cello. He fled the Conservatorio five times in order to pursue an acting career, but each time he was brought back in disgrace. [1] His voice was a beautiful contralto, and just before it broke he sang the solos in Mozart's Requiem on the death of Joseph Haydn in 1809.

Naples Comune in Campania, Italy

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.

Marseille Second-largest city of France and prefecture of Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur

Marseille is the second-largest city of France. The main city of the historical province of Provence, it is the prefecture of the department of Bouches-du-Rhône and region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. It is located on the Mediterranean coast near the mouth of the Rhône. The city covers an area of 241 km2 (93 sq mi) and had a population of 852,516 in 2012. Its metropolitan area, which extends over 3,173 km2 (1,225 sq mi) is the third-largest in France after Paris and Lyon, with a population of 1,831,500 as of 2010.

A contralto is a type of classical female singing voice whose vocal range is the lowest female voice type.

Before long he became possessed of a magnificent bass, which gradually increased in volume until at the age of twenty it attained a compass of two octaves from E-flat below to E-flat above the bass stave. In 1812, when only eighteen, he was engaged at the Teatro di San Carlo, Naples, and appeared in Valentino Fioravanti's La Molinara. From 1812 to 1817 he sang at Palermo. [1] In 1817, at La Scala in Milan, he took the part of Dandini in Rossini's La Cenerentola . The opera Elisa e Claudio was written for him in 1821 by Saverio Mercadante and his position was assured. His reputation spread throughout Europe.

Teatro di San Carlo opera house in Naples, Italy

The Real Teatro di San Carlo, its original name under the Bourbon monarchy but known today as simply the Teatro di San Carlo, is an opera house in Naples, Italy. It is located adjacent to the central Piazza del Plebiscito, and connected to the Royal Palace.

Valentino Fioravanti Italian composer

Valentino Fioravanti was a celebrated Italian composer of opera buffas.

Palermo Comune in Sicily, Italy

Palermo is a city of Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Metropolitan City of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old. Palermo is located in the northwest of the island of Sicily, right by the Gulf of Palermo in the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Giulia Grisi as Elvira and Luigi Lablache as Sir Giorgio in Bellini's I puritani at The King's Theatre in London, 1835 Luigi Lablache and Giulia Grisi in I puritani, Kings Theatre London 1835.jpg
Giulia Grisi as Elvira and Luigi Lablache as Sir Giorgio in Bellini's I puritani at The King's Theatre in London, 1835

From Milan he went to Turin, returned to Milan in 1822, then appeared at Venice, and in 1824 at Vienna. Going back to Naples after an absence of twelve years, he created a great sensation as Assur in Rossini's Semiramide . On 30 March 1830, under Ebers's management, he was first heard in London as Geronimo in Cimarosa's Il matrimonio segreto and thenceforth appeared there annually, also singing in many provincial festivals. In 1827 Franz Schubert wrote three songs in Italian (Op. 83, D. 902) for Lablache, marvellous exercises in Rossinian pastiche; they are among the last songs he ever wrote.

<i>Semiramide</i> opera by Gioachino Rossini

Semiramide is an opera in two acts by Gioachino Rossini. The libretto by Gaetano Rossi is based on Voltaire's tragedy Semiramis, which in turn was based on the legend of Semiramis of Assyria. The opera was first performed at La Fenice in Venice on 3 February 1823.

Domenico Cimarosa Italian opera composer of the Neapolitan school

Domenico Cimarosa was an Italian composer of the Neapolitan school. He wrote more than eighty operas, the best known of which is Il matrimonio segreto (1792); most of his operas are comedies. He also wrote instrumental works and church music.

<i>Il matrimonio segreto</i> opera by Domenico Cimarosa

Il matrimonio segreto is an opera in two acts, music by Domenico Cimarosa, on a libretto by Giovanni Bertati, based on the play The Clandestine Marriage by George Colman the Elder and David Garrick. It was first performed on 7 February 1792 at the Imperial Hofburg Theatre in Vienna in the presence of Emperor Leopold II.

A physically imposing man, his voice was at all times extraordinarily powerful; but he could produce comic, humorous, tender, or sorrowful effects with equal ease and mastery. As an actor, he excelled equally in comic and tragic parts. His chief rôles were Leporello (his greatest part), Geronimo the Podestà in La gazza ladra , Dandini in La Prova d' un' Opera Seria, Henry VIII in Anna Bolena the Doge in Marino Faliero , and Oroveso in Norma . He created the title role in Donizetti's Don Pasquale in 1843. Towards the close of his career he played two new characters of quite different types with great success, Shakespeare's Caliban [ clarification needed Which opera?] and Gritzenko, the Kalmuck, in Scribe's and Meyerbeer's L'étoile du nord .

<i>La gazza ladra</i> opera semiseria by Gioacchino Rossini

La gazza ladra is a melodramma or opera semiseria in two acts by Gioachino Rossini, with a libretto by Giovanni Gherardini based on La pie voleuse by Théodore Baudouin d'Aubigny and Louis-Charles Caigniez. The composer Gioachino Rossini wrote quickly, and La gazza ladra was no exception. According to legend, before the first performance of the opera, the producer assured the composition of the overture by locking Rossini in a room, from the window of which the composer threw out the sheets of music to the copyists who then wrote the orchestral parts, to complete the composition of the opera. As such, The Thieving Magpie is best known for the overture, which is musically notable for its use of snare drums. The unique inspiration in the melodies is extreme, famously used to bizarre and dramatic effect in Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. It was referenced by Haruki Murakami in his work The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. This memorable section in Rossini's overture evokes the image of the opera's main subject: a devilishly clever, thieving magpie.

<i>Anna Bolena</i> opera by Gaetano Donizetti

Anna Bolena is a tragic opera in two acts composed by Gaetano Donizetti. Felice Romani wrote the Italian libretto after Ippolito Pindemonte's Enrico VIII ossia Anna Bolena and Alessandro Pepoli's Anna Bolena, both recounting the life of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of England's King Henry VIII.

<i>Marino Faliero</i> (opera) opera by Gaetano Donizetti

Marino Faliero is a tragedia lirica, or tragic opera, in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti. Giovanni Emanuele Bidera wrote the Italian libretto, with revisions by Agostino Ruffini, after Casimir Delavigne's play. It is inspired by Lord Byron's drama Marino Faliero (1820) and based on the life of Marino Faliero (c.1285-1355), the Venetian Doge.

At the funeral of Beethoven in 1827 he was one of the thirty-two torchbearers who surrounded the coffin, and he also sang in Mozart's Requiem. He sang the same Requiem at Chopin's funeral in 1849. He was the soloist, singing a Lacrimosa , at Bellini's funeral in 1835.

Ludwig van Beethoven 18th and 19th-century German classical and romantic composer

Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the classical and romantic eras in classical music, he remains one of the most recognized and influential musicians of this period, and is considered to be one of the greatest composers of all time.

Frédéric Chopin Polish composer and pianist

Frédéric François Chopin was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic era who wrote primarily for solo piano. He has maintained worldwide renown as a leading musician of his era, one whose "poetic genius was based on a professional technique that was without equal in his generation."

The Lacrimosa is part of the Dies Irae sequence in the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass. Its text comes from the Latin 18th and 19th stanzas of the sequence. Many composers, including Mozart, Berlioz, and Verdi have set the text as a discrete movement of the Requiem.

In 1836/37 he taught singing to Princess Victoria of the United Kingdom, the later Queen Victoria.

Luigi Lablache died at Naples on 23 January 1858, and was buried at Maisons-Laffitte, near Paris.

He had married the singer Teresa Pinotti in 1813, and they had thirteen children; several of them, notably Frederick Lablache, were also singers. His eldest daughter, Francesca (Cecchina), married the pianist Sigismond Thalberg in 1843, and his younger daughter, Therese, married the opera singer Hans von Rokitansky. The actor Stewart Granger was his great-great-grandson and the BBC TV Antiques Roadshow expert Bunny Campione is also a descendant.

In 1881, Sarah E. Bromwell and Jesse Shepherd claimed to conjur the spirit of Lablache at 464 West Randolph Street, Chicago, Illinois. [2]

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  1. 1 2 Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 5th ed., 1954, Eric Blom, ed.
  2. "A SÉANCE." The Inter Ocean. August. 1881. Retrieved 29 June. 2017.