Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Dec 28, 2011

Francesco Merli (Tenor) (Corsico, Milan 1887 – Milan 1976)


He was born in Corsico (Milan) and studied in Milan, with Carlo Negrini and Adelaide Borghi. In 1914, he won second prize at a singing competition in Parma, being edged out of first place by the great Beniamino Gigli. He made his debut at La Scala, Milan, in 1916, as Alvaro in Spontini's Fernand Cortez. Merli would sing widely in Italy and South America during the next decade, and also toured Australia in 1928 with an opera company composed of leading La Scala singers and sponsored by Dame Nellie Melba (who also sang during that tour, in roles such as Mimi in La bohème, despite being 67 years old). The tour included Merli singing Calaf in the Australian premiere of Puccini's Turandot.  He appeared regularly in London at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, from 1926 to 1930, where, among other things, he was the first Calaf to be heard in Great Britain. He made his Paris debut at the Palais Garnier in 1935, as Pollione in Norma. His only season at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City occurred in 1932. He made his debut at the Met on March 2 of that year, as Radames in Aida; but his performances there were not deemed a success due to the effects of poor health. Thereafter, La Scala became his operatic base and his career tailed off during World War II. He was renowned for his vocal strength, penetrating tone and incisive diction. These qualities enabled him to tackle a wide operatic repertory, ranging from bel canto works through verismo roles to heroic parts such as Verdi's Otello. Other famous operas that he appeared in included, among others, William Tell, Il pirata, Il trovatore, La forza del destino, Andrea Chénier, Manon Lescaut and Pagliacci. His portrayal of Otello became world famous, as was his interpretation of Calaf in Turandot. Merli also created the title role in Respighi's Belfagor in 1923. He retired from the stage in 1948 and died, aged 89, in Milan.

Chronology of some appearances

1919 Firenze Teatro Verdi Cavalleria Rusticana (Turiddu)
1920 Palermo Teatro Massimo Cavalleria Rusticana (Turiddu)
1921 Carrara  Politeama Verdi Carmen (Don Jose)
1922 Brescia Teatro Grande Andrea Chenier (Chenier)
1922 Fabriano Teatro Gentile Carmen (Don Jose)
1922 Piacenza Teatro Municipale Gioconda (Enzo)
1924 Verona  Arena Andrea Chenier (Chenier)
1925 Treviso  Teatro Sociale Andrea Chenier (Chenier)
1926 Roma Teatro Costanzi Andrea Chenier (Chenier)
1926 Roma Teatro Costanzi Gioconda (Enzo)
1926 San Paolo Teatro Municipal Andrea Chenier (Chenier)
1926 San Paulo Teatro Municipal Boheme (Rodolfo)
1926 Milano  Teatro alla Scala Boheme (Rodolfo)
1926 Milano  Teatro alla Scala Cavalleria Rusticana (Turiddu)
1927 Milano Teatro alla Scala Boheme (Rodolfo)
1927 Milano Teatro alla Scala Gioconda (Enzo)
1928 Melbourne His Majesty's Carmen (Don Jose)
1930 Milano Teatro La Scala Andrea Chenier (Chenier)
1930 Milano  Teatro alla Scala Boheme (Rodolfo)
1931 Milano Teatro alla Scala Boheme (Rodolfo)
1931 Napoli Teatro San Carlo Boheme (Rodolfo)
1933 Padova Teatro Verdi Andrea Chenier (Chenier)
1934 Roma  Teatro dell'Opera Boheme (Rodolfo)
1937 Roma  Eiar Andrea Chenier (Chenier)
1937 Milano  Teatro La Scala Fanciulla del West (Johnson)
1938 Trieste  Castello di San Giusto Andrea Chenier (Chenier)
1939 Napoli  Teatro San Carlo Boheme (Rodolfo)



Columbia, Milano 1927-01-27
Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni): Viva il vino spumeggiante D 14685 WBX 85

Columbia, Milano 1927-01-28
Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni): Addio alla madre D 14685 WBX 88
Aida (Verdi): Nel fiero anelito with Giannina Arangi-Lombardi D 18019 WBX 86
Aida (Verdi): O terra addio with Giannina Arangi-Lombardi D 18019 WBX 87

Columbia, Milano 1927-01/02
Forza del destino (Verdi): O tu che in seno D 12534 WB1211

Columbia, Milano 1927-02?
Forza del destino (Verdi): La vita e inferno D 12534 WB1238
Aida (Verdi):  La fatal pietra...Morir si pura e bella D 12535 B 1244

Columbia, Milano 1927-02-03
Lohengrin (Wagner):  Prova maggiore GQX10227 BX90
Africana (Meyerbeer): O Paradiso D 14687 BX 91

Columbia, Milano 1927-04-15/25
Otello (Verdi): Ora e per semprer addio D 12555 B 1323

Columbia, Milano 1927-04-23
Aida (Verdi): Nume costode e vindice with Tancredi Pasero D18024 WBX120
Trovatore (Verdi): Miserere with Giannina Arangi-Lombardi BX121 D18024

Columbia, Milano 1928-02-02
Giuliano (Zandonai): La dolce madre che mi D 14703 BX 225
Sly (Wolf-Ferrari): Un orso in musoliera D 14704 BX 233

Columbia, Milano 1928-02-04
Giuliano (Zandonai): PI with Rosetta Pampanini GQX10238 WBX229
Giuliano (Zandonai): PII with Rosetta Pampanini GQX10238 WBX230

Columbia, Milano 1928-02-06
Sly (Wolf-Ferrari): Io non sono un buffone D 14704 BX 226
Andrea Chenier (Giordano): Improvviso D 14705 BX 234

Columbia, Milano 1928-02-07
Andrea Chenier (Giordano):  Si, fui soldato D 14705 BX 236

Columbia, Milano 1928-03-29
Forza del destino (Verdi): Di geloso amor sprezzato with Giannina Arangi-Lombardi and Carlo Galeffi GQX10188 WBX259

Columbia, Milano 1928-03-31
Aida (Verdi): Celeste Aida D 18048 WBX 260
Gioconda (Ponchielli): Cielo e mar D 18048 WBX 261

Columbia, Milano 1929-02-20
Guarany (Gomez): Sento una forza indomita with Bianca Scacciati D 18064 BX 480
Guarany (Gomez): Ma deh che a me with Bianca Scacciati D 18064 BX 481 
Ruy Blas (Marchetti): Grazie signor with Bianca Scaciatti D 18065 BX 482

Columbia, Milano 1929-02-19
Forza del destino (Verdi): Solenne in quest'ora with Gino Vanelli D 15259 B 2377
Forza del destino (Verdi): Invano Alvaro with Gino Vanelli D 18063 BX 478
Forza del destino (Verdi): Le minaccie with Gino Vanelli D 18063 BX 479

Columbia, Milano 1929-02-21
Ruy Blas (Marchetti): O dolce volutta with Bianca Scaciatti D 18065 BX 483

Columbia, Milano 1929-02-26
Loreley (Catalani): Vieni! Deh Vien with Bianca Scacciati D 18066 WBX 489
Loreley (Catalani): Deh! ti rammenta with Bianca Scacciati D 18066 WBX 490
Forza del destino (Verdi): Non imprecare umiliati with Bianca Scacciati and Tancredi Pasero GQX10213 WBX491

Columbia, Milano 1929-02
Pagliacci (Leoncavallo): Recitar!...Vesti la giubba  D 12606 WB 2397
Pagliacci (Leoncavallo): No pagliaccio, non son D 12606 WB 2399

Columbia, Milano 1930-11-14
Guglielmo Tell (Rossini): O muto asil GQX 7145 B3816

Columbia, Milano 1931-12-09
Lombardi  alla prima crociata (Verdi): Qui posa il fianco with Bianca Scacciati and Nazzareno De Angelis GQX10521 Bx1166
Lombardi alla prima crociata (Verdi): Qual volutta trascorrere with Bianca Scacciati and Nazzareno De Angelis GQX10521 Bx11667

Columbia, Milano 1935-06-08
Otello (Verdi): Gia nella notte with Claudia Muzio BQX 2510 BX 1370
Otello (Verdi): Ed io with Claudia Muzio BQX 2510 BX 1370  
Otello (Verdi): Dio ti giocondi P1 with Claudia Muzio BQX 2511 BX 1371
Otello (Verdi): Dio ti giocondi P2 with Claudia Muzio BQX 2511  BX 1372

Columbia, Milano 1936-06-25
Norma (Bellini):  Meco all'altar di venere GQ 7197 B 7709/10
Otello (Verdi): Dio! mi potevi scagliar GQX 10776 BX 1412
Otello (Verdi): Niun mi tema GQX 10776 BX 1413

1 comment:

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