Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Sep 18, 2011

Rinaldo Grassi (Tenor) (Milan 1885 - ? 1946)

                                             I wish to thank Anna Davico for this photo

I wish to thank Renato Grimaldi for this photo

                                                        with Maria Farneti

He received his education at the Milan Conservatory where he was a pupil of Leoni. In 1904 he made his stage debut at the Teatro Coccia of Novara as Rodolfo to Puccini’s ‘’La Boheme’’. In 1905 he had the first success at the Teatro Comunale in Ferrara as well as at the Teatro Sociale in Treviso as Faust in ‘’La dannatione di Faust‘’ of Berlioz. In 1906 he appeared with success at the Teatro Dal Verme in Milan as Giorgio in Mascagni’s ‘’Amica’’. In 1907 he performed at the Teatro San Carlo in Napoli in Verdi’s ‘’La Traviata’’ togheter with Darclee Heraclea and Eugenio Giraldoni. The same year Grassi made his La Scala debut where as a partner of Eugenia Burzio and Pasquale Amato he sang in Puccini’s ‘’Tosca’’. In the 1908-09 season he appeared  at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in ‘’Madame Butterfly’’, ‘’Tosca’’, ‘’La Boheme’’ and ‘’Cavalleria Rusticana’’.  In 1912 he made guest appearance at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires singing the role Faust’’ in ‘’Mefistofele’’. At the Teatro Regio in Turin he sang the role of Dick Johnson in the premiere there of Puccini’s ‘’La Fanciulla del West’’ (1911). At the Teatro Dal Verme, Milan he appeared on 6. 3. 1920 in the premiere of Pedrollo’s ‘’L'Uomo che ride’’. He married the soprano Bianca Tamagno-Grassi (1883-1914), a niece of the heroic tenor Francesco Tamagno (1851-1905). She died at the height of her career, at the age of 31, after a car accident.

Chronology of some appearances

1904 Novara Teatro Coccia Boheme (Rodolfo)
1905 Ferrara Teatro Comunale La dannatione di Faust (Faust)
1905 Treviso Teatro Sociale La dannatione di Faust (Faust)
1906 Milan Teatro Dal Verme Amica (Giorgio)
1907 Napoli Teatro San Carlo Traviata (Alfredo)
1907 Milan La Scala Tosca (Cavaradossi)
1911 Torino Teatro Regio Fanciulla del West (Dick Johnson)
1912 Buenos Aires Teatro Colon Mefistofele (Faust)



Pathe, Milano 1906?
Aida (Verdi): Morir, si pura e bella  86170    
Rigoletto (Verdi): E ' il sol dell'anima 86171    

Fonotipia, Milano 1908-03-16
Rigoletto (Verdi): La donne e  mobile 92157 XPh3087

Fonotipia, Milano 1908-10-21
Africana (Meyerbeer): O Paradiso 92262 XPh3550
Manon Lescaut (Puccini): Donna non vidi mai  92260 XPh3551

Fonotipia, Milano 1908-10-23
Mefistofele (Boito): Dai campi, dai prati 92261 XPh3559

Fonotipia, Milano 1909-06-22
Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni): Tu qui, Santuzza? with Lina Pasini-Vitale 74149  XXPh3968
Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni): Ah! lo vedi with Lina Pasini-Vitale 74150  XXPh3969

Fonotipia, Milano 1909-07-01
Faust (Gounod):  Oh del ciel angioli... All'erta, all'erta with Lina Pasini-Vitale and Oreste Luppi 92633    XPh4031
Mefistofele (Boito): Dimmi se credi, Enrico with Lina Pasini-Vitale 92567 XPh4032
Mefistofele (Boito):
Strano figlio del Caos... Fin da sta notte with Oreste Luppi 92568 XPh4033

Fonotipia, Milano 1909-07-03
Gioconda (Ponchielli): Enzo Grimaldo with Pasquale Amato 92565 XPh4044
Gioconda (Ponchielli): O grido di quest'anima with Pasquale Amato 92566 XPh4045


  1. Thank you very much for your most interesting project. I am very delighted and impressed of your efforts. I know how difficult it is to find facts about lesser known singers from the past. A singer is soon forgotten. A singers work is happening in their own time and even if they leave a legacy of recordings,so many phenomenal singers soon will be forgotten. Comparing the destiny of authors and painters it could be the same problem,but their work is preserved in another way. So thank you for your important and highly interesting page!
    Bengt Krantz,operasinger,Sweden.

  2. Thanks a lot Bengt for you very good words about my site.
    Best Regards