Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

May 22, 2012

Giuseppe Paganelli (Tenor) (Forli 1882 - Cape Town 1956)

Displaying exceptional gifts at an early age, Giuseppe Paganelli learned to play the cornet during his school years, and obtained a professional diploma at a music school in Venice at the age of seventeen. In 1902 he enrolled at the Academia de Santa Cecilia in Rome and studied the theory of music and composition, until his harmony lecturer advised him to study voice production with the famous teacher, Antonio Cotogni. He was accepted as a student and trained for four years. After an Academy concert he was engaged by a Roman concert impresario to sing the tenor role in The Barber of Seville, and subsequently scored one opera success after another in Italy, North and South America, Greece, Spain, Australia and New Zealand. In 1926 he accompanied the Sistine Chapel Choir as a solo tenor on a world tour. After their successful performance in Cape Town, Prof. W. H. Bell offered him the position of singing master and opera producer at the S.A. College of Music. He accepted and his first presentation was The barber of Seville, in which he and Timothy Farrell sang the leading roles. This was followed by other operas like Don Pasquale, La traviata, The secret marriage (Cimarosa), The marriage of Figaro and La sonnambula (Bellini). He was seriously ill in 1945; shortly afterwards he composed a passion-play based on Da Vinci’s Last supper, which he directed, with Dirk Lourens singing the tenor role. Among his students were his wife Eva Gain, and the soprano Albina Bini, who regularly took part in his productions. After the Second World War, Fiasconaro joined the College as an instructor in singing and started a school of opera under the supervision of Prof. E. Chisholm, thus continuing Paganelli’s pioneering work.

Chronology of some appearances

1905 Milan  Teatro Fossati  Don Pasquale (Malatesta)
1906 Venezia  Teatro Rossini Barbiere di Siviglia (Almaviva)
1907 Forli Teatro  Comunale  Don Pasquale (Ernesto)
1908 Genova Teatro Margherita Don Pasquale (Ernesto)
1909 Caracas Teatro Municipal Favorita (Fernando)
1910 Milano Teatro Lirico Mignon (Guglielmo)
1911 Puerto Rico Teatro Municipal Manon (De Grieux)
1912 Cinfuegos Teatro Municipal Rigoletto (Duca)
1913 Torino Teatro Regio Don Pasquale (Ernesto)
1914 Havana Teatro Payret Favorita (Fernando)
1915 Genova Teatro Carlo Felice Don Pasquale (Ernesto)
1916 Parma Teatro Regio Favorita (Fernando)
1917 Modena Teatro Storchi Mignon (Guglielmo)
1918 Milano Teatro Lirico Barbiere di Siviglia (Almaviva)
1919 Bologna Teatro Apollo Barbiere di Siviglia (Almaviva)
1920 Pesaro Teatro Rossini Barbiere di Siviglia (Almaviva)
1921 Cairo Kursaal Dalbagni Sonnambula (Elvino)
1922 Cairo Kursaal Dalbagni Mignon (Guglielmo)
1923 Roma Teatro Nazionale Matrimonio segreto (Paolino)
1924 Catania Teatro Bellini Adriana Lecouvreur (Maurizio)



Columbia, Milano 
Mignon (Thomas): Ah, non credevi tu D 4460 41901
Favorita (Donizetti): Spirto gentil  D4545
Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini): Se il mio nome D4413 11461 
Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini): Ecco ridente in cielo D4413 11470


  1. Mr. Arakelyan,

    My italian grandmother, Teresa Paganelli Lazzarotto, was a sister of Giuseppe Antonio Paganelli. Around 1897 she married my grandfather Antonio Lazzarotto and, rejected by the family by this marriage, migrated to Brazil. Here, in Curitiba (Paraná State), she stayed until to die in 1955. My father used to tell me that the only member of the family she had contact by mail was her brother Giuseppe. She was born in Forly, like Giuseppe, and lived in Veneza, where she knew and married with Antonio Lazzarotto. As far as I know, they didn't use the Italian language even between themselves, except for sing operistic duets of soprano and tenor.
    Its very exciting to find now references to my uncle and I'm very gratefull for your post.
    Sorry for my poor English, but I imagine that I made myself inteligible.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I am sorry that no one has responded to my pape. I was hoping that Mr. Lazzarotto would respond because I can give information on the tenor Giuseppe Paganelli and his family. Thanks

    3. Ciao Roberta!Come stai?Sono brasiliana e sono una pronipote di Teresa Paganelli, che era la sorella di Giuseppe. Vorrei maggiori informazioni sulla famiglia paganelli, per favore!Grazie e cordiale saluti!

    4. Ciao Roberta!Come stai?Sono brasiliana e sono una pronipote di Teresa Paganelli, che era la sorella di Giuseppe. Vorrei maggiori informazioni sulla famiglia paganelli, per favore!Grazie e cordiale saluti!

  2. Hello dear Lazzarotto. Great thanks for your interesting story.
    All the best

  3. Dear Arakelyan,

    I translated your post and made my own post on my blog, with more informations that I heard from my father when I was a teenager. It's interesting for the new generations of our family to know about our familiar history.

    This is the link:

    Thank you for these precious informations and for your answer.


  4. Dear Aquiles I already saw your blog and your post, thank you, very interesting. I'm happy that you used information about Paganelli from my blog.

  5. Your knowledge is very much appreciated and needed. ... Thank you again for the gift of your time and thoughts. ... Thank you for sharing your website with us.

  6. One of his most well known students was the pianist Albina Bini (later Bergamasco), who took his lessons here in Cape Town. After 18 months of hard work, he succeeded in transforming her voice in such a way, that he launched her as soprano prima donna in the ''Barber of Seville,''and presented by him at the Opera House in Cape Town. The cast consisted of local artists who were at the time, pupils of Paganelli. The success of his first lyrical enterprise, encouraged other productions of Italian operas, such as Don Pasquale, Il Matrimonio di Figaro, La Traviata, and Madame Butterfly, in each of which Albina appeared in the role of prima donna.

  7. Ho conosciuto Albina Bini a Cape Townw nel 1997, quando venni in South Africa per rintracciare notizie su un mio lontano parente, il tenore Giuseppe Paganelli. Fu un'esperienza umanamente molto interessante e direi anche emozionante. Albina era quasi centenaria, ma ricordava bene le lezioni di canto datale dal tenore Paganelli, come ho pubblicato nel mio libro "Giuseppe Paganelli, tenore, compositore, impresario(1882-1956).