Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Dec 23, 2011

Francesco Maria Bonini (Baritone) (Naples 1865 – Milan 1930)

He studied singing with Beniamino Carelli at the Conservatory of San Pietro a Majella in his native city. He made his stage debut in 1896 at the Teatro Mercadante in Foggia as Don Carlo di Vargas in Giuseppe Verdi's La forza del destino. In 1897-1898 he made appearances at the Amazon Theatre in Brazil, the Valletta Royal Opera House in Malta and at the Cairo Opera House in Egypt. In 1899 Bonini returned to Italy to appear in operas in Brescia and Cremona. He sang at the Odessa Opera and Ballet Theater in 1900 and 1902 and in 1901 he was committed to the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. In 1903 he made his debuts at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo and at La Scala in Milan, the latter in the role of Arnoldo in Amilcare Ponchielli's I Lituani . On 17 October 1903 he portrayed the role of Athanaël in the Italian premiere of Jules Massenet's Thaïs at the Teatro Lirico Internazionale in Milan opposite Lina Cavalieri in the title role. On 19 December 1903, Bonini made his debut at the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples as Michonnet in that house's first staging of Francesco Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur with Solomiya Krushelnytska in the title role. He remained committed to that theatre through 1905, portraying such roles as Walitzin/Commissario in Umberto Giordano's Siberia and Johannes Rathenow in the Italian premiere of Ruggero Leoncavallo's Der Roland von Berlin. He also made appearances in the world premiere of Leopoldo Mugnone's Vita Brettona and the Naples premiere of Lorenzo Filiasi's Manuel Menendez. From 1905-1907, Bonini was engaged at the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos in Lisbon. While there he appeared in the world of premiere of João Arroyo's Amor de Perdição. He sang at the Teatro Regio di Parma in 1907-1908, portraying such roles as Carlo Gérard in Andrea Chénier, David in L'amico Fritz, Kurwenal in Tristan und Isolde, and Rinaldo in Amica among others. From 1909-1911 he appeared mostly at the Teatro Regio in Turin in such roles as Kurwenal, Wolfram von Eschenbach in Tannhäuser, and the title roles in Boris Godunov, Falstaff, Hérodiade, and Rigoletto. In 1911-1912 Bonini returned to La Scala where he was seen as Hidraot in Christoph Willibald Gluck's Armide, King Raimondo in Isabeau, and Hans Sachs in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg]. He returned to the Teatro Regio in Turin in 1913 where he assailed the role of Friedrich of Telramund in Lohengrin for the first time. That same year he made a few appearances at the Teatro Real in Madrid. Bonini spent the latter part of his career working as a freelance artist, mainly in Italy. In 1918 he made his first appearance at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome as Falstaff. That same year he had a major success at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna as Germont in La traviata with Ester Mazzoleni as Violetta. He returned to Bologna numerous times through 1922 in such roles as Comte de Nevers in Les Huguenots, Rigoletto, and Wolfram. In 1919 he portrayed Amenofi in Amilcare Ponchielli's Il figliuol prodigo at the Arena di Verona Festival. In 1922 he sang Germont at La Fenice and in 1923 he sang Nevers and Germont at the Teatro Municipale Piacenza. He also made several appearances at the Teatro Regio di Parma in the 1920s. Bonini retired from the stage in 1927, after which he lived in Milan where he taught singing. Other roles which he performed during his career included Alfonso in La Favorita, Amonasro in Aida, Barnaba in La Gioconda, Nélusko in L'Africaine, Renato in Un ballo in maschera, Scarpia in Tosca, and Valentin in Faust.

Chronology of some appearances

1895 Taranto Teatro Paisiello Forza del Destino (Carlo)
1898  Brescia Teatro Grande Boheme (Marcello)
1900 Modena Teatro Storchi Stagione
1902 Odessa Teatro Municipale Rigoletto (Rigoletto)
1904 Rio de Janeiro Teatro Lirico Aida (Amonasro)
1906 Lisbona Teatro San Carlos Dannazione di Faust (Mefistofele)
1908 Parma Teatro Regio Amico Fritz (David)
1910 Cosenza Teatro Rendano Cavalleria Rusticana (Alfio)
1912 Milano Teatro La Scala Isabeau (Re Raimondo)
1914 Fiume Teatro Verdi Traviata (Germont)
1916 Torino Politeama Chiarella Andrea Chenier (Gerard)
1918  Brescia Teatro Sociale Traviata (Germont)
1920 Como Politeama Stagione
1922 Firenze Teatro Verdi Traviata (Germont)
1924 Torino Teatro Balbo Traviata (Germont)
1926  Prato Politeama Banchini Isabeau (Re Raimondo)



Fonotipia, Milano 1904-12-05?
Rigoletto (Verdi): Cortigiani, vil razza dannata  39071 XPh98
Affè si ghiuto ammore (Carelli) 39125 XPh100

Fonotipia, Milano 1905-02-20?
Rolando di Berlino (Leoncavallo): Preghiera 39124 XPh144
Rigoletto (Verdi): Pari siamo!  39045 XPh145

Fonotipia, Milano 1906-05-15
I Due Foscari (Verdi): Quest'è dunque l'iniqua mercede 39760 XPh1873

Fonotipia, Milano 1906-05-16
I Due Foscari (Verdi): O vecchio cor che batti 39831 XPh1884

Fonotipia, Milano 1909-06-24
Pêcheurs de perles (Bizet): O Nadir 92561 XPh3984

Fonotipia, Milano 1906-06-27
Don Sebastiano (Donizetti): O Lisbona alfin ti miro 39743 XPh1947
Gioconda (Ponchielli): O grido di quest'anima with Gino Martinez-Patti  39808 XPh1950

Fonotipia, Milano 1906-06-30
Andrea Chénier (Giordano): Son sessant'anni 39740 XPh1966
Andrea Chénier (Giordano): Un dì m'era di gioia 39741 XPh1967

Fonotipia, Milano 1906-07-04
Siberia (Giordano): O bella mia (Mattinata) witrh Gino Martinez-Patti, Oreste Luppi and Roberto Tamanti 39821 XPh1974

Fonotipia, Milano 1906-07-05
Boheme (Puccini): Entrata di Schaunard...Quadro quarto with Gino Martinez-Patti, Antonio Magini-Coletti and Oreste Luppi 39728 XPh1980

Fonotipia, Milano 1906-07-12
Forza del destino (Verdi): Le minaccie with Gino Martinez-Patti 39736 XPh2000
Forza del destino (Verdi): Non si placa with Gino Martinez-Patti 39737 XPh2001

Fonotipia, Milano 1906-09-27
Gioconda (Ponchielli): Enzo Grimaldo with Gino Martinez-Patti 39807 XPh2074

Fonotipia, Milano 1906-09-29
Traviata (Verdi): Madamigella Valery? with Giannina Russ 39869 XPh2094
Traviata (Verdi): Pura siccome with Giannina Russ 39870 XPh2095
Traviata (Verdi): E grave il sacrificio with Giannina Russ 39871 XPh2096
Traviata (Verdi): Dite alla giovane with Giannina Russ 39872  XPh2114

Fonotipia, Milano 1906-10-02
Trovatore (Verdi): Tace la notte…Deserto sulla terra with Mario Gilion 39812 XPh2109

Fonotipia, Milano 1906-10-03
Forza del destino (Verdi): Solenne in quest'ora with Mario Gilion 39811 XPh2111

Fonotipia, Milano 1906-10-06
Traviata (Verdi): Imponete with Giannina  Russ 39873 XPh2117

Fonotipia, Milano 1909-06-24
Amica (Mascagni): Se tu amasti me 92562 XPh3985

Fonotipia, Milano 1909-06-25
Faust (Gounod): Dio possente 92564 XPh3988

Fonotipia, Milano 1909-07-01
Roi de Lahore (Massenet): O casto fior 92563 XPh4026

Fonotipia, Milano 1909-10-11
Guillaume Tell  (Rossini): Resta immobile 92602 XPh4090

Fonotipia, Milano 1909-10-12
Ernani (Verdi): O dei verd'anni miei 92599 XPh4094

Fonotipia, Milano 1909-10-23
Boris Godounov  (Mussorgsky): Potente son e forte 92601 XPh4111


  1. MOLTO BELLO!!! Thank you my Friend for sharing this Valuable Biographical information.

  2. An absolute hidden treasure! Vanina Estela Bonini Peme

  3. A hidden treasure that must come back to life!
    Vanina Estela Bonini Peme