Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Jul 26, 2018

Arne Ohlson (Tenor) (Uddevalla, Sweden 2. 01. 1911 – Märsta, Sweden 1. 05. 2000)

He initially studied violin and music theory in Uppsala and Stockholm, but then trained by John Forsell, Joseph Hislop and Augustin Kock at the Stockholm Academy of Music. In 1941 he made his stage debut at the Royal Opera in Stockholm as Don Ottavio in "Don Giovanni". Until 1966 he was the first lyrical tenor of this opera house. In 1957 he appeared in the Swedish premiere of A. Berg's "Wozzeck". From 1948 to 1968 he was one of those singers, who made the Drottningholm Festival a first-class musical event. From 1966 to 1974 he worked at the Academy of Music in Aalborg. Since 1974 he taught singing in Stockholm and Uppsala.

Chronology of some appearances

1941-1966 Stockholm Royal Opera

Carlo Galeffi (Baritone) (Malamocco 4 June 1884 – Roma 22 September 1961)

Galeffi studied singing under the pedagogues Di Como, Sbriscia and later with Antonio Cotogni. He made his debut  1903 at the Teatro Quirino in Roma as Enrico in ‘’Lucia di Lammermoor’’. In her book Una Voce nel Mondo, Toti Dal Monte wrote, that Galeffi is the best baritone of her time.

Chronology of some appearances

1907 Roma  Teatro Quirino Pagliacci (Tonio)
1908 Roma  Teatro Adriano Amica (Rinaldo)
1908 Palermo Teatro Massimo Ballo in maschera (Renato)
1908 Messina Teatro Vittorio Emanuele Pagliacci (Tonio)
1908 Roma Teatro Adriano Carmen (Escamillo)
1910 Lisbona Teatro San Carlos Carmen (Escamillo)
1910  Buenos Ayres  Teatro Coliseo Pagliacci (Tonio)
1910 Buenos Ayres  Teatro Coliseo Rigoletto (Rigoletto)
1910 Rosario di Santa Fè  Teatro Colon Pagliacci (Tonio)
1910 Boston  Opera House Pagliacci (Tonio)
1911 Philadelphia  Teatro Metropolitan Pagliacci (Tonio)
1911 Rio de Janeiro  Teatro Municipal Amica (Rinaldo)
1912 Milano Teatro alla Scala Lohengrin (Tetralmondo)
1913 Firenze Politeama Fiorentino Ballo in maschera (Renato)
1914 San Pietroburgo  Teatro Petit Pagliacci (Tonio)
1915 Montevideo  Teatro Solis Carmen (Escamillo)
1916 Pesaro Salone Pedrotti Barbiere di Siviglia (Figaro)
1917 Genova Politeama Genovese Barbiere di Siviglia (Figaro)
1918 Roma Teatro Costanzi Ballo in maschera (Renato)
1919 Firenze  Teatro Della Pergola Barbiere di Siviglia (Figaro)
1919 Chicago Civic Opera House Barbiere di Siviglia (Figaro)
1920 New York Lexington Theater Barbiere di Siviglia (Figaro)
1920 Buenos Ayres  Teatro Colon Lohengrin (Tetralmondo)
1921 Buenos Ayres  Teatro Colon Barbiere di Siviglia (Figaro)
1921 Buenos Ayres  Teatro Colon Ballo in maschera (Renato)
1922 Milano  Teatro La Scala Lohengrin (Tetralmondo)
1924 Milano  Teatro La Scala Lohengrin (Tetralmondo)
1925 Milano  Teatro La Scala Ballo in maschera (Renato)
1925 Lisbona Coliseo Recrejos Pagliacci (Tonio)
1927 Buenos Ayres  Teatro Colon Lohengrin (Tetralmondo)
1929 Milano  Teatro La Scala Ballo in maschera (Renato)
1929 Milano  Teatro La Scala Lohengrin (Tetralmondo)
1930 Buenos Ayres  Teatro Colon Boheme (Marcello)
1930 Buenos Ayres  Teatro Colon Cavalleria Rusticana (Alfio)
1935 Buenos Ayres  Teatro Colon Ballo in maschera (Renato)
1936 Trieste Teatro Verdi Ballo in maschera (Renato)
1938 Buenos Ayres  Teatro Colon Carmen (Escamillo)

Jul 14, 2018

Hermann Schramm (Tenor) (Berlin, Germany 7. 02. 1871 - Frankfurt am Main, Germany 11. 12. 1951)

Like his father, first he became a merchant, but then studied singing and made his debut in 1895 at the Wroclaw Opera House as Gomez in "Nachtlager in Granada" by C. Kreutzer. In the 1896-1900 seasons he worked as a lyric tenor at the Cologne Opera House, then started to appear only in buffo roles. He was a highly respected member of the Frankfurt am Main Opera House (1900-1933). On the German stage he was unequaled Mime in the Ring cycle and David in "Meistersingern". In 1899 he also sang the part of David at the Bayreuth Festival. Already in 1899 he guested at the London Covent Garden Opera. He also had a significant career in Brussels,Paris and Holland. In 1912 he appeared in Amsterdam in the Dutch premiere of opera "Königskinder" by Humperdinck. Other guest appearances took him to the Court Operas of Berlin (1897), Dresden (1898-99) and Munich (1898), to the Court Theater of Hanover (1899), Wiesbaden (since 1900), Karlsruhe (since 1906) and Mannheim (1900), since 1900 also to the City Theater of Zurich. In the 1923-1924 season he took part in the North American tour of German Opera. As a Jew, he retired from the stage in Frankfurt in 1934, but survived during the Nazi era in Frankfurt. His son, Friedrich Schramm (1900-1981), for a long time was director of the Stadttheater of Basel, then director of the Staatstheater in Wiesbaden.

Chronology of some appearances

1895 Wroclaw Opera House
1896-1900 Cologne Opera House
1900-1933 Frankfurt am Main Opera House

Jul 12, 2018

Margaret Burke Sheridan (Castlebar, Republic of Ireland 15. 10. 1889 – Dublin, Republic of Ireland 16. 04. 1958)

First she was trained in Dublin, then at the Royal Academy of Music in London under William Shakespear and completed her education  in Milan with soprano Tina Sconamiglio. In 1911, under the name Margaret Burke-Sheridan, she sang at Dublin in Handel's ‘’Messiah’’. She made her debut in 1918 at the Teatro Costanzi in Roma as Mimi in "La Bohème". She had a great success especially at the Teatro San Carlo in Napoli. In 1921 she sang for the first time at La Scala in Milano, where she became very popular in the following years and appeared here until 1924. In 1923 she sang the part of Olimpia in the premiere of Respighi's "Belfagor". She was highly acclaimed by Giacomo Puccini. Her roles at La Scala included also Wally in the same opera by Catalani and Maddalena in Giordano’s "Andrea Chénier". In 1924, for political reasons, she left the theatre with A. Toscanini, who previously promoted her career. She was also successful at the Arena di Verona and in several guest appearances at the Covent Garden Opera (since 1919). Here she appeared in the first performance of Mascagni's "Iris" (1919). In the 1925-1930 seasons she sang constantly at the Covent Garden Opera. After leaving the stage she returned to her Irish home and worked as vocal pedagogue in Dublin.

Chronology of some appearances

1918 Roma Teatro Costanzi
1919 London Covent Garden
1921-1924 Milano La Scala

Max Rohr (Tenor) (? 1875 – München 1917)

His stage debut took place in 1901 at the Court Theater in Detmold. In 1902 he continued his education and in the 1903-04 season he was engaged by the Municipal Theater of Landshut (Bavaria), from 1904 to 1905 he appeared at the Municipal Theater in Regensburg. In 1905 he became a member of the Carl Theater in Wien, whose member he remained until 1910. Here he sang in numerous operettas and and also participated in the world premieres of "Die Schützenliesel" by Edmund Eysler (1905) and "Zigeunerliebe" of F. Lehár (1910). In the 1910-1913 seasons he sang at the Raimund Theater in Wien, then a season at the local Johann Strauss Theater. From 1915 until his early death, he worked at the Münchner Theater am Gärtnerplatz. He was very successful in operettas of Franz Lehar, Leo Fall, Oscar Straus, E. Kalman and E. Eysler. He retired from the stage in 1917.   

Chronology of appearances

1901 Detmold Court Theater
1903-1904 Landshut Municipal Theater
1904-1905 Regensburg Municipal Theater
1905-1910 Wien Carl Theater
1910-1913 Wien Raimund Theater
1914 Wien Johann Strauss Theater
1915-1917 Münchner Theater am Gärtnerplatz

Jun 15, 2018

Libero De Luca (Tenor) (Kreuzlingen, Switzerland 1913 - Horn, Switzerland 1998)

After studying architecture, he was trained by Max Kraus in Munich as baritone (1932-1934), but then retrained as tenor in Zurich by Alfredo Cairati. After winning a first prize at an international voice competition in Geneva, in 1941, he made his professional debut the following year at the Solothurn Municipal Theatre. After one season at the Bern Municipal Theatre, he joined to the Zurich Opera (1943-1949). There he sang in the premieres of the operas ‘’Der unsterbliche Kranke’’ by Hans Haug (1947) and ‘’Die schwarze Spinne’’ of W. Burkhard (1949). In 1948 he performed at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires and at the Teatro San Carlo in Napoli, in 1949 at the Covent Garden Opera in London; He was also a guest at the opera houses of Brussels, Munich and Vienna. In 1949 he became the first tenor of the Opéra-Comique in Paris, where he appeared in numerous operas of French repertoire. He also sang at the Paris Grand Opéra, thus  in 1948 as Edgardo in ‘’Lucia di Lammermoor’’ opposite Lily Pons. Until 1960 he was a soloist of two major Parisian opera houses. Also at the concert area he had a successful career with appearances in Zurich, Basel and Bern, in Bordeaux, Strasbourg and Paris. In 1961 he retired from the stage. Later he became a full-time voice teacher in Horn, Switzerland, near Lake Constance.

Chronology of some appearances

1941 Solothurn Municipal Theatre
1942 Bern Municipal Theatre
1943 -1949 Zurich Opera
1948 Buenos Aires Teatro Colon
1949 London Covent Garden
1949 Paris Opéra-Comique

May 13, 2018

Ettore Campana (Baritone) (Savignano sul Rubicone 1875 - Los Angeles 1941)

He studied singing at the Liceo Musicale in Pesaro and made his debut at the Teatro Comunale in Cesenatico as Marcello in ‘’Boheme’’ (1902). Around 1910 he went to USA and became a principal baritone of  Bevani  Opera Company. After his retirement, he taught singing in Los Angeles. His wife was the famous actress Esperanza Susanna.

Chronology of some appearances

1902 Cesenatico Teatro Comunale Boheme (Marcello)
1910 Oakland Idora Park Faust (Valentin)
1912 Mexico City Theatre Arbeu Aida (Amonasro)
1916 Pasadena Cauldron Club Concert
1917 Los Angeles Auditorium Concert

May 12, 2018

Eugène Graux (Tenor) (Hellemmes-Lille, France 27. 01. 1895 – Amiens, France 05 05. 1963)

Graux studied singing at the Conservatoire de Lille under Alphonse Capon (1913). After the war, where he was wounded, he was admitted to the Conservatoire de Paris (1920). Probably he made his debut at the Grand-Théâtre de Nancy, he was very successful. He made guest appearances at the Grand-Théâtre de Bordeaux, l'Opéra de Lyon, le Casino municipal de Cannes, l'Opéra de Monte-Carlo. In 1928 he made his debut at the Opéra-Comique in Paris as Gérald in ‘’Lakmé’’ (1928). In 1931 he was appointed professor of singing at the Conservatoire de Lille. He never made records.

Chronology of some appearances

1921? Grand-Théâtre de Nancy
1928 Paris Opéra-Comique

May 11, 2018

Josip Križaj (Bass) (Vevče, Ljubljana 5 March 1887 – Zagreb 30 July 1968)

He received his vocal training in Ljubljana and in Munich. In 1907 he made his debut at the Slovenian National Opera and Ballet Theatre. Here he appeared up to 1913. From 1913 to 1940 he became one of the most popular artists of Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb. He sang several roles here in first performances of operas for Yugoslavia: the title hero in Mussorgsky's "Boris Godunov" and Dosifey in his "Khovantchina" (1926), the Ochs in "Rosenkavalier", King Philip in Verdi's "Don Carlo", the King Mark in "Tristan und Isolde" and Wotan in "Rheingold". On 12. 11. 1935 he sang the role of Marko in Zagreb in the world premiere of the Croatian opera "Ero s onoga svijeta" by Jakov Gotovac. His repertoire included Rocco in "Fidelio", the Kezal in "Prodaná nevěsta ", Figaro in "Nozze di Figaro", Hans Sachs in "Meistersingern", the Wanderer in "Siegfried" and Gurnemanz in "Parsifal". Married the famous soprano Paula Trauttner (Ruma, Croatia 1888 – Zagreb, Croatia  1976).

Chronology of some appearances

1907-1913 Ljubljana Slovenian National Opera and Ballet Theatre
1913-1940 Zagreb Croatian National Theatre

May 9, 2018

Umberto Bagnoli (Tenor)

Bagnoli was a lyric tenor, who around 10 years appeared at the Italian provincial operatic houses. His repertoire included Almaviva in ‘’Barbiere di Siviglia’’, Duca in ‘’Rigoletto'', Elvino in ‘’Puritani’’, Turiddu in ‘’Cavalleria Rusticana’’. Later he became an operetta singer. Bagnoli never made records.

Chronology of some appearances

1904 Salò  Teatro Sociale Rigoletto (Duca)
1906 Napoli  Teatro Bellini Barbiere di Siviglia (Almaviva)
1906 Cava dei Tirreni  Teatro Comunale Barbiere di Siviglia (Almaviva)
1906 Cava dei Tirreni  Teatro Comunale Puritani (Elvino)
1906 Salerno  Politeama Barbiere di Siviglia (Almaviva)
1906 Salerno  Politeama Puritani (Elvino)
1906 Napoli  Teatro Bellini Traviata (Alfredo)
1906 Vallo Lucano  Teatro Comunale Barbiere di Siviglia (Almaviva)
1911 Lisbona  Coliseo Recrejos Cavalleria Rusticana (Turiddu)
1912 Lisbona Coliseo Recrejos Cavalleria Rusticana (Turiddu)
1915 Parma Reinach La figlia di madama Angot (Pitou)
1925 Parma Reinach Mazurka bleu (Klandage)

May 8, 2018

Astra Desmond (Contralto) (Torquay, England 10 April 1893 – Faversham, England 16 August 1973)

In 1919 she made her debut in a concert in London. In the following years she sang various opera roles at the Covent Garden Opera (including the Ortrud in ‘’Lohengrin’’ under Sir Henry Wood) and at the Sadler's Wells Opera in London. She sang a variety of solo roles in oratorios; her interpretation in Elgar's ‘’The Dream of Gerontius’’ was unparalleled. She performed songs in 12 different original languages. In 1937 she learned Norwegian to be able to recite the songs of Edvard Grieg in the original language. She sang these in a series of broadcasts of the BBC London and was awarded in 1943 by the Norwegian King Hakon VII with a medal. Great concert tours earned her success in Europe as well as in North America, in 1938 she undertook a major Scandinavian tour, in 1939 she traveled the Balkan countries, performing in Athens, Belgrade, Sofia and Budapest. In 1945 she received a teaching assignment at the Royal Academy of Music in London, which she held until 1967. She published very readable articles about interpretation of the songs of Dvořák, Sibelius and Grieg. She made records for Decca and HMV.

May 6, 2018

Hertha Stolzenberg (Cologne 13. 2. 1889 – Oberstdorf 18. 3. 1960)

After her education in Cologne and Berlin she made her debut in 1910 at the Komische Oper in Berlin. In the 1911-1912 season she sang at the Stadttheater of Kiel, from 1912 to 1924 at the German Opera House (Städtische Oper) in Berlin, where she had a huge success. Here she created in 1913 the part of Minnie in the premiere of G. Puccini's "La Fanciulla del West", in 1919 Fiora in the German premiere of I. Montemezzi's "Amore dei tre Re". In 1914 she appeared there in the world premiere of the opera "Mandragola" by Ignaz Waghalter. From 1924 to 1932 she worked at the Staatstheater of Hannover. Here she appeared in 1927 in the premiere of opera "Herrn Dürers Bild" by J. G. Mraczek. She made guest appearances at the major German opera stages and in Holland and was known for her concerts on German radio. In 1932 she gave up her stage career. She spent her old age in Oberstdorf, Allgäu.

Chronology of some appearances

1910 Berlin Komische Oper
1911-1912 Kiel Stadttheater
1912-1924 Berlin Städtische Oper
1924-1932 Hannover Staatstheater

May 2, 2018

Carrere (Tenor)

                                                                           Arnold (1921)

He made his debut at the Opéra Comique in Paris as Radames in G. Verdi’s ‘’Aida’’ (1918).

Chronology of some appearances

1918 Paris Opéra Comique Aida (Radames)
1919 Paris Opéra Comique Otello (Otello)
1919 Paris Opéra Comique  Samson et Dalila (Samson)
1921 Paris Opéra Comique  Guillaume Tell (Arnold)
1922 Paris Opéra Comique  Herodiade (Jean)
1923 Paris Opéra Comique  Trovatore (Manrico)

Abby Richardson (Mezzo-Soprano) (USA 1892 - ?)


As a child she came to France and became a pupil of Rose Caron in Paris. In 1910 she made her debut in Nantes, in 1911 she created the role of Rosalia in the French premiere of d'Albert's  "Tiefland" at the Nice Opera. She married the director of this opera house Pierre Chereau. For three seasons, the artist was engaged at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels. She often gave guest appearances at the Opéra-Comique in Paris, at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo, at the Teatro Liceo of Barcelona and at French Provincial theaters. In 1938 she sang the part of Geneviève in ‘’Pelléas et Mélisande’’ at Vichy Casino. Later she led an opera class at the Conservatoire Rachmaninoff in Paris. She made a few recordings for Columbia.

Chronology of some appearances

1910 Nantes Opera
1911 Nice Opera
1910’s Brussels Théâtre de la Monnaie
1910’s Paris Opéra-Comique

May 1, 2018

Antonio Amiel (Tenor)

I think Amiel appeared only in Spain and Argentina. He had a short career.

Chronology of some appearances

1910 Barcellona  Teatro Novedades Boheme (Rodolfo)
1911 Buenos Ayres  Teatro Coliseo Rigoletto (Duca)
1912 Buenos Ayres  Teatro Marconi Tosca (Cavaradossi)
1912 Buenos Ayres  Teatro Marconi Traviata (Alfredo)
1914 Valencia  Teatro Principal  Rigoletto (Duca)

Apr 8, 2018

Josef Gostic (Tenor) (Stara loka, Slovenia March 5, 1900 – Belgrad, Serbia December 25, 1963)


First he studied at the Conservatory of Ljubljana, then completed his education in Vienna. In 1929 he made his debut at the Slovenian National Opera and Ballet Theatre. In 1937 he became the first tenor of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb, where he and appeared until the end of his career. Guest appearances brought him successes in Berlin and Dresden, in Prague and Belgrade, later also in Paris (1953) and London. Since 1943 he often appeared as a guest at the Volksoper in Wien, since 1944 also at the Staatsoper in Wien. Since 1958 he was a regular member of this opera house. On 14. 8. 1952 at the Salzburg Festival he sang the role of Midas in the premiere of Richard Strauss’s opera ‘’Die Liebe der Danaë’’. In 1955 he sang at the London Stoll Theater in the English premiere of the opera ‘’Ero s onoga svijeta’’ by J. Gotovac under the direction of the composer. In 1958 he was a guest at the London Covent Opera. Most of his repertoire included heroic roles. He continued his career until the sixties.

Chronology of some appearances

1929 Ljubljana Slovenian National Opera and Ballet Theatre
1937 Zagreb Croatian National Theatre
1943 Wien Volksoper
1944 Wien Staatsoper
1952 Salzburg Festival
1955 London Stoll Theater
1958 London Covent Garden

Voldemars Ancarovs-Kadikis (Tenor) (Odessa, Ukraine 26. 03. 1902 – Germany, Hannover ? 31. 01. 1982)

He was a soloist of the Latvian National Opera, Riga. In 1935 he sang in operetta at the Theater an der Wien. In 1940’s he appeared at the opera houses of Hamburg, Munich, Berlin, Hannover, Aachen and Oldenburg.  In addition he his voice was heard on broadcasting stations in Germany.

Chronology of some appearances

1930’s Riga Latvian National Opera
1935 Theater an der Wien
1940’s Hamburg, Munich, Berlin
1940’s Hannover, Aachen, Oldenburg
1940’s Germany Radio broadcasting stations

Ivan Levar (Baritone) (Rakek, Slovenia 8. 09. 1888 – Ljubljana, Slovenia 28. 11. 1950)

First he studied singing under Unger in Vienna, then from 1909 to 1912 completed his education at the Academy of Music and Theater in Vienna. In the 1912-1913 season he was engaged as the first baritone by the Opera Theater  in Moravian Ostrava. From 1913 to 1914 he appeared at the Aachen City Theater. His repertoire included part from operas of Wagner, Verdi and Mozart. He made guest appearances in Düsseldorf, Cologne, Hamburg, Lübeck, Graz, Prague and Breslav. In the 1914-1918 seasons he was a member of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb. Here he participated in opera premieres of G. Puccini’s ‘’La Fanciulla del West’’ and R. Strauss’s ‘’Salome’’. In 1918 he joined to the Slovenian National Opera and Ballet Theatre in Ljubljana and worked here up to 1924. His repertoire included Figaro, Rigoletto, Scarpia in ‘’Tosca’’, Tonia in ‘’Pagliacci’’, Athanaël  in ‘’Thais’’ and many other parts. Since 1924 he started to appear as an actor and his star role was Jago in Shakespeare’s ‘’Otello’’.

Chronology of some appearances

1912-1913 Moravian Ostrava Opera Theater
1913-1914 Aachen City Theater
1914-1918 Zagreb Croatian National Theatre
1918-1924  Ljubljana Slovenian National Opera and Ballet Theatre

Apr 6, 2018

Marcel Génio (Tenor) (Paris, France 5. 7.1899 – Paris, France 5. 21 1980)

He studied singing at the Conservatoire de Paris under legendary opera singers André Gresse and Thomas Salignac and obtained there a few singing prizes and medals. He made his debut at the Opéra-Comique in ’’le Bon roi Dagobert’’ by Marcel Samuel-Rousseau (1927). His repertoire included Sciarrone in ‘’Tosca’’, Schmidt in ‘’Werther’’, Beppe in ‘’Pagliacci’’, Yamadori in ‘’Madama Butterfly’’, Nathanael/Spalanzani in ‘’les Contes d’Hoffmann’’, Hadji  in ‘’Lakmé‘’, Poet in ‘’Louise’’ etc.

Chronology of some appearances

1927 Paris Opéra-Comique le Bon roi Dagobert (Marcel Samuel-Rousseau) (Debut)
1928 Paris Opéra-Comique Sarati le Terrible (Francis Bousquet) (Premiere)
1928 Paris Opéra-Comique Riquet à la houppe (Georges Hüe) (Premiere)
1929 Paris Opéra-Comique la Femme et le pantin ou Conchita (Zandonai) (Premiere)
1930 Paris Opéra-Comique d'Angélique Jacques Ibert (Premiere)
1930 Paris Opéra-Comique Le Fou de la Dame (Marcel Delannoy) (Premiere)
1931 Paris Opéra-Comique Cantégril (Roger-Ducasse) (Premiere)
1932 Paris Opéra-Comique Eros vainqueur (Pierre de Bréville) (Premiere)
1932 Paris Opéra-Comique Vieux garçons (Louis Urgel) (Premiere)
1933 Paris Opéra-Comique Tarass Boulba (Marcel Samuel-Rousseau) (Premiere)
1933 Paris Opéra-Comique Frasquita (Franz Lehar)
1935 Mon Ami Pierrot (le Perroquet) (Samuel Barlow) (Premiere)
1935 Paris Opéra-Comique Gargantua (Antoine Mariotte) (Premiere)

Apr 5, 2018

Silvano Benedetti (Tenor) (Rome 1900 – Rome 1962)

Born Silvano Proietti, son of sculptor Vincenzo Proietti (1876-1945) and Agata Monti (1873-1948), he was baptised at S. Giovanni Laterano and changed his family name into Benedetti in 1928. The reason is still not clear.

There is evidence of public performances already since 1924 in Rome – under the name Silvano Monti (using the surname of his mother, Agata Monti) or even Silvio Monti. In an very early review from “Piccolo Giornale d’Italia”, he appears as “tenore Proietti”.

He took lessons with the famous teacher Giovanni Villa (from Rome). Between 1928-1930 (at least) he participates to the courses of Gemma Bellincioni at the “Teatro Sperimentale Internazionale della Giovane Lirica” in Rome. At some point he had also an interaction with Maestro Giulio Moreschi, tenor, the adoptive son of castrato Alessandro Moreschi.

He sang mainly romantic opera: roles (or excerpts) from Rigoletto (Duca), Luisa Miller, Boheme (Rodolfo), Lodoletta (Mascagni), Masnadieri (Verdi), Lucia di Lammermoor, Faust, Fedora, Gioconda, Traviata (Alfredo), Turandot (Calaf), Aida (Radames), L’Africana, Fanciulla del West.

His career was interrupted in the middle of the 1930s, when it was at its most promising point, due to a sudden neurological loss of hearing – which, seemingly, happened  on stage during a performance of Lucia di Lammermoor. This dramatic event would mark his life forever.

He was a Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Corona d’Italia. After participating as a volunteer to the First World War as an aviator, he was later an ufficiale of Civil Engineering during the Second World War, especially in Albania. During the escape from Albania, he was a prisoner of the German SS in the Lager of Semlin (Belgrad) – being able to return to Italy at the beginning of 1944 hidden in a wagon of cows. By this time his hearing handicap became worse.

After having to give up the musical career, he worked at the Ministero dei Lavori Pubblici in Rome until his death, a work that he started already during his musical career.

He died tragicly in the night between 27th and 28th March 1962.

His grandson Flavio Ferri-Benedetti (born 1983) is a countertenor.

Newspaper excerpts:

“Il tenore Proietti ha esordito con la sua squillante voce dando molto a sperare nella carriera che gli auguriamo brillantissima” [Piccolo Giornale d’Italia]
“il tenore Silvano Monti, una vera promessa dell’arte lirica.” [Piccolo Giornale d’Italia]
“grande promessa per l’arte” [Tribuna]
“gi® tanto applaudito nella Bohçme...” [Messaggero]

“Il giovane tenore romano S. Benedetti... fin dalle prime note, il Benedetti si impose all’attenzione del pubblico per la sua bella voce maschia, calda, estesissima, educata ad ottima scuola, per l’accento appassionato e il fraseggio impeccabile, per la signorilita del tratto e la spigliatezza dell’azione scenica. I primi consensi si manifestarono alla “gelida manina” cantata con arte mirabile e, contrariamente all’uso invalso, nel tono voluto dalla partitura: gli applausi crebbero poi via via, culminando al duetto con Mimê, al finale del primo atto [...] alla fine del terzo atto e del quarto, il Benedetti, chiamato dagli scroscianti battimani degli spettatori, dove presentarsi alla ribalta per ben cinque volte... Successo quindi schietto e caloroso che rappresenta per questo giovane tenore romano un buon battesimo d’arte e un ottimo auspicio per il suo avvenire, il quale confermera, senza dubbio, dinanzi ai migliori e pi÷ vasti pubblici, quel riconoscimento che alle magnifiche doti vocali e interpretative del Benedetti, ha dato, con vibrante entusiasmo, Ancona.” [TRIBUNA, Boheme, Ancona Teatro delle Muse, 1930]

I would like to thank Flavio Ferri-Benedetti for the information and photos.

Apr 4, 2018

Bernd Aldenhoff (Tenor) (Duisburg, Germany 14. 6. 1908 – München, Germany 8. 10. 1959)


He was one of the best German heldentenors of his time. Originally he was a carpenter. He studied singing under Julius Lenz in Köln and made his debut at the Oper in Köln (1932). His repertoire included  Florestan in ‘’Fidelio’’, Lohengrin, Siegmund in ‘’Walküre’’, Matthias in ‘’Evangelimann’’ of W. Kienzl, Titelrolle in ‘’Der arme Heinrich’’ of H. Pfitzner, Pedro in ‘’Tiefland’’ of E. d'Albert, Bacchus in ‘’Ariadne auf Naxos’’, Herodes in ‘’Salome’’ and Ägisth in ‘’Elektra’’ of R. Strauss, Fabiano in ‘’Der Günstling’’ of R. Wagner-Régeny, Rodolfo in ‘’La Bohème’’, Titelrollen in ‘’ Les contes d'Hoffmann’’ of Offenbach and in ‘’Sly’’ of E. Wolf-Ferrari.

Chronology of appearances

1930-1932 Stuttgart Opernhaus (Chorist)
1932-1933 Köln Oper (Debut)
1934-1935 Darmstadt Theater
1937 Zoppot festival
1935-1938 Erfurt Theater an das
1938-1944 Düsseldorf Opernhaus
1939 Frankfurt a.M. Opernhaus
1943-1952 Dresden Staatsoper
1944 Wien Volksoper
1950 Berlin Komischen Oper
1950 Wien Staatsoper
1951-1952 Bayreuth festival
1952-1957 Frankfurt a.M. Opernhaus
1954 Florence Teatro Comunale
1954-1955 New York  Metropolitan Opera
1955 Paris Grand Opéra
1956 München Staatsoper
1957 Bayreuth festival
1957 London Covent Garden
1957 Brussels Théâtre de la Monnaie
1959 Milano La Scala
1959 Lisbon Teatro San Carlo
1959 Zurich Opernhaus
1959 Duisburg Stadttheater

Lorenz Fehenberger (Tenor) (Upper Bavaria, Germany August 24, 1912 - Munich, Germany July 29, 1984)

He studied singing under Elisabeth Wolff in München and made his debut in 1939 at the Stadttheater in Graz in R. Strauss’s ‘’Rosenkavalier’’. In the 1941-1945 seasons he was engaged by the Staatsoper in Dresden and joined in 1946 to the Bayerische Staatsoper in München. On 9. 8. 1949 at the Salzburg festival he sang the role of Haemon in the premiere of the opera ‘’Antigonae’’ by Carl Orff. Here he appeared as soloist in G. Rossini’s ‘’Stabat Mater’’ (1949/1962). He returned for the ‘’Schöpfung’’ of J. Haydn (1951), after two years sang also in ‘’Judas Makkabaeus’’ of G. F. Händel. In 1964 he guested in ‘’Christus am Ölberge’’ of L. van Beethoven, in 1967 in W. A. Mozart's ‘’Requiem’’ and took over in 1949 a small part in performances of ‘’Zauberflöte’’. Guest performances led him to the famous opera theaters of Italy, Austria, Belgium, Holland and Switzerland, also to the Scandinavian lands and South America (Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires, 1951). At the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino he sang in 1951 the part of Golo in ‘’Genoveva’’ by R. Schumann (the Italian première of this opera). In the 1951-1952 season he appeared in several parts at the Arena di Verona. In 1953 he appeared at the Covent Garden among other things as Apollo in the première there of the opera ‘’Die Liebe der Danaë’’ of R. Strauss. Still in 1976 he performed at the Staatsoper in München in the premiere of the opera ‘’Die Versuchung’’ of  Josef Tal. In 1977 he appeared for the last time in München in ‘’Rosenkavalier’’. His repertoire included Radames in ‘’Aida’’, José in ‘’Carmen’’, Lohengrin, Duke in ‘’Rigoletto’’, Walther von Stolzing in ‘’Meistersingern’’, Alvaro in ‘’La Forza del Destino’’, Pinkertton in ‘’Madaa Butterfly’’and Cavaradossi in ‘’Tosca’’.

Chronology of some appearances

1939 Graz Stadttheater
1941-1945 Dresden Staatsoper
1946 München Bayerische Staatsoper
1949 Salzburg festival
1951 Buenos Aires Teatro Colón
1951 Firenze Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
1951-1952 Arena di Verona
1953 London Covent Garden
1962 Salzburg festival
1964 Salzburg festival
1967 Salzburg festival
1976-1977 München Staatsoper

Apr 2, 2018

Hans Beirer (Tenor) (Wiener Neustadt, Austria June 23, 1911 - Berlin, Germany June 24, 1993)


First he studied medicine in Vienna, then vocal at the Vienna Music Academy. He was a pupil of Tino Pattiera and Paul Neuhaus. He made his debut in 1936 at the Landestheater in Linz (Danube) as Hans in B. Smetana's ‘’The Bartered Bride’’. In the 1937-1939 seasons worked at the Stadttheater in Basel and St. Gallen, then, until 1941, he appeared as an operetta singer at the Mellini-Theater in Hannover. During the World War II he sang at the Theater of Nollendorfplatz in Berlin in operetta roles (among other things as Danilo in ‘’Lustigen Witwe’’ and Barinkay in ‘’Zigeunerbaron’’). In 1943 he was engaged by the Städtische Oper (Deutsche Oper) in Berlin, where he made his debut as Nando in ‘’Tiefland’’ of E. d'Albert. He remained connected to this opera house throughout his career. In 1948 he appeared there in the world premiere of the opera ‘’Circe’’ by Werner Egk. Since 1958 he was a member of the Staatsoper in Hamburg. From 1962 to 1987 he performed at the Staatsoper  in Vienna (there took place in 1987 his last appearance as Ägisth in ‘’Elektra’’ by R. Strauss). In the 1950-1951 season he appeared at La Scala as Tannhäuser and Parsifal, the next year in ‘’Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg’’ (under  W. Furtwängler). He sang at this famous opera house also in 1957 as Tristan and again came back in 1967 for Tannhäuser. At the Teatro San Carlo in Naples he performed in the 1949-1950 season in ‘’Wozzeck’’by A. Berg. The role of Walther von Stolzing he sang at the City Center Opera of New York (1950). In 1955, 1957, 1958, in the 1960-1961 season and also in 1968 he guested at the Grand Opéra in Paris and performed in such a parts like Siegfried, Tannhäuser, Otello, Tristan, Erik, Florestan, Samson Siegmund and Tannhäuser.  At the Teatro Comunale in Bologna he was heard in 1957 as Siegfried, at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires as Tristan (1963), at the Teatro San Carlo in Lisbon as Samson (1961). He also appeared as a guest in Barcelona, ​​ Lyon (1964/1965), Toulouse (Otello), Brussels (1962-1963) and London (1953). At the Teatro dell'Opera in Rome he guested in 1949 as Parsifal (opposite Maria Callas and Cesare Siepi). Guest performances also took him to the Staatsoper of Munich and Stuttgart, additionally to the Opéra de Marseille and The Royal Danish Opera Housea and also Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa. In the 1958-1962 seasons he performed at the Bayreuth Festival as Parsifal, Tristan (1959) and Tannhäuser (1961). At the Salzburg Festival of 1951 he made guest appearances in ‘’Wozzeck’’ and ‘’Zauberflöte’’. On 23. 5. 1971 he performed at the Staatsoper in Vienna in the world premiere of the opera ‘’Der Besuch der alten Dame’’ by G. von Einem. In 1972 he sang the role of Alfred in ‘’Fledermaus’’ at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin. At this house he worked over 40 years and became its honorary member. On his 75th birthday in 1986 he sang in Berlin the role of Herod in ‘’Salome’’ by R. Strauss. He was interested in many things and also worked as writer and painter.

Chronology of some appearances

1936 Linz Landestheater
1937-1939 Basel/ St. Gallen Stadttheater
1939-1941 Hannover Mellini-Theater
1942 Berlin Theater of Nollendorfplatz
1943 Berlin Städtische Oper
1949 Roma Teatro dell'Opera
1950 New York City Center Opera
1950-1952 Milano La Scala
1953 London Covent Garden
1955 Paris Grand Opéra
1957 Paris Grand Opéra
1957 Bologna Teatro Comunale
1958 Paris Grand Opéra
1958-1962 Bayreuth Festival
1960-1961 Paris Grand Opéra
1961 Lisbon Teatro San Carlo
1962-1963 Brussels La Monnaie
1963 Buenos Aires Teatro Colón
1964 Opéra National de Lyon
1965 ​​ Opéra National de Lyon
1968 Paris Grand Opéra
1958 Hamburg Staatsoper
1962-1987 Vienna Staatsoper
1972 Berlin Deutsche Oper
1986 Berlin Deutsche Oper