Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Jun 18, 2012

Enrico De Franceschi (Baritone) (1885 Padova -Torino 1945)


Very young he moved to Argentina where he began his studies and made his debut in 1907. In 1909, after a brief stay in Italy, he returned to Argentina where he retained until 1921 appearing at the main theaters of South America. He returned to Italy and sang until 1945, when committed suicide.

Chronology of some appearances

1907 Montevideo Teatro Urquiza Aida (Amonasro)
1908 Milano Teatro Dal Verme Rigoletto (Rigoletto)
1909 Corfù Teatro Nuovo Traviata (Germont)
1910 Rosario di Santa Fè Teatro Colon Barbiere di Siviglia (Figaro)
1911 Valparaiso Teatro Victoria Rigoletto (Rigoletto)
1912 Buenos Aires Politeama Argentino Don Pasquale (Malatesta)
1913 Buenos Aires Teatro Marconi Aida (Amonasro)
1914 Buenos Aires Teatro Marconi Cavalleria rusticana (Alfio)
1917 Buenos Aires Teatro Colon Tristano e Isotta (Melot)
1919 Buenos Aires Teatro Marconi Africana (Nelusko)
1921 Montevideo Teatro Solis Amleto (Amleto)
1922 Torino Politeama Chiarella Barbiere di Siviglia (Figaro)
1923 Venezia Teatro La Fenice Pagliacci (Tonio)
1924 Verona Teatro Filarmonico Traviata (Germont)
1925 Bari Teatro Petruzzelli Ballo in maschera (Renato)
1926 Parma Teatro Regio Ballo in maschera (Renato)
1927 Madrid Teatro Reale Africana (Nelusko)
1928 Palermo Teatro Massimo Otello (Jago)
1929 Brescia Teatro Grande Favorita (Alfonso)
1930 Bari Teatro Petruzzelli Otello (Jago)
1931 Novara Teatro Coccia Otello (Jago)
1932 Milano Teatro Lirico Ernani (Carlo)
1933 Bari Teatro Petruzzelli Tosca (Scarpia)
1934 Trieste Politeama Rossetti Trovatore (Conte)
1935 Palermo Teatro Biondo Forza del Destino (Carlo)
1936 Madrid Teatro Calderon Boheme (Marcello)
1937 Modena Teatro Municipale Trovatore (Conte)
1938 Milano Teatro La Scala Madama Butterfly (Sharpless)
1939 Milano Castello Sforzesco Rigoletto (Rigoletto)
1940 Novara Teatro Coccia Otello (Jago)
1941 Parma Teatro Regio Rigoletto (Rigoletto)
1942 Novara Teatro Coccia Andrea Chenier (Gerard)
1943 Brescia Teatro Grande Elisir d’amore (Belcore)
1944 Piacenza Teatro Municipale Andrea Chenier (Gerard)
1945 Piacenza Teatro Municipale Rigoletto (Rigoletto)



Parlophon, Berlin 1923-10-10
Traviata (Verdi): Non, amario ditegli with Zita Fumagalli Riva P1614 2-6490
Traviata (Verdi): Dite, alla giovine with Zita Fumagalli Riva P1614 2-6491

Parlophon, Berlin 1923-10-11
Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni): Oh! Il Signore vi manda with Zita Fumagalli Riva P1615 2-6494
Dinorah (Meyerbeer):  Sei vendicata assai P1607 2-6497

Parlophon, Berlin 1923-10-12
Otello (Verdi): Si pel ciel with Antonio Cortis P1609 2-6498
Ernani (Verdi): Lo vedremo veglio audace P1607 2-6500
Otello (Verdi): Era la notte P1609-I 2-6503

Parlophon, Berlin 1923-10-15
Rigoletto (Verdi): L'acciar qui piago with Zita Fumagalli Riva P 1613 2-6510

Brunswick 1924
Tannhauser (Wagner): O tu'bell astro 35038B
Rigoletto (Verdi): Pari siamo 35038

Columbia, Milano 1925?
Otello (Verdi): Sogno D9475 B604
Ballo in maschera (Verdi): Eri tu D5213 B606
Ernani (Verdi): Lo vedremo o veglio audace D5211 B634
Ernani (Verdi): Oh! Dei verd'anni miei D5211 B638

La Voce del Padrone 1925
Orfeo (Monteverdi): Orfeo son io DB5377 CBX1477
Orfeo (Monteverdi): Possente spirto with Albino Marone  DB 5377 

Fonit 1927
Tannhäuser (Wagner): Allor che tu coll'estro 35056
Gioconda (Ponchielli): O monumento 35041 2035
Guillaume Tell (Rossini): Resta immobile 35041 2028
Nerone (Boito): Vivete in pace 35050 2019

Fonografia Nazionale
Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini) Largo al factotum 2071
Re di Lahore (Massenet): O casto fiore 2072
Rigoletto (Verdi): Povero Rigoletto e cortigiani 2079
Rigoletto (Verdi): Miei signori 2080

Lina Lanza (Mezzo-Soprano) (Venice 1898 - Milan 1974)

She debuted in 1921 at the Teatro Verdi of Castelsangiovanni in ‘’La Favorita’’. She sang on 20. 12. 1924 at La Scala in the premiere of the opera ‘’La cena delle beffe’’ of Giordano, on 7. 3. 1925 in ‘’I Cavalieri di Ekebù’’ of Zandonai. In 1927 she performed at the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genova. There she sang the role of Adalgisa in Bellini’s ‘’Norma’’. In 1935 she appeared at the Arena of Verona in Mascagni’s ‘’Cavalleria rusticana’’. She spent her old age at the Casa di Riposo Giuseppe Verdi In Milan.

Chronology of some appearances

1921 Castelsangiovanni Teatro Verdi Favorita (Leonora)
1924 Milan La Scala La cena delle beffe
1925 Milan La Scala I Cavalieri di Ekebù
1927 Genova Teatro Carlo Felice Norma (Adalgisa)
1935 Verona Arena Cavalleria rusticana (Lucia)



Columbia, Milano 1924/1925
Norma (Bellini): Mira o Norma with Giannina Arangi Lombardi D 5219 b 657
Norma (Bellini): Fino all'estremo with Giannina Arangi Lombardi D 5219 b 658
Favorita (Donizetti): O mio Fernando D5140 B371
Favorita (Donizetti): Su crudeli  D5140 B372
Nerone (Boito): Come è buona D9457 B444

Pathe, Milano
Nerone (Boito): Morte di Rubria 10393 84835
Trovatore (Verdi): Ai nostri monti with Ismaele Voltolini 15113 84922
Rigoletto (Verdi): Quartetto with Giovanni Manurita, Gino Lussardi and Anna Sassone Soster 12621 88155
Favorita: O mio Fernando 10401

Fonotipia, Milano 1930-03-18
Norma (Bellini): Sola, furtiva al tempio with Vera Amerighi-Rutili 172194 XXPh6564
Norma (Bellini): Sì, fa core abbracciami with Vera Amerighi-Rutili 172194 XXPh6565
Norma (Bellini): Mira o Norma, pt 1 with Vera Amerighi-Rutili 172127 XXPh6566
Norma (Bellini): Mira o Norma, pt 2 with Vera Amerighi-Rutili 172127 XXPh6567
Norma (Bellini): Oh! di qual sei tu vittima, pt 1 with Gino Colombo and  Vera Amerighi-Rutili 168838 Mo2886
Norma (Bellini): Oh! di qual sei tu vittima, pt 2  with Gino Colombo and Vera Amerighi-Rutili  168838 Mo2887

Jun 15, 2012

René Maison (Tenor) (Frameries, Belgium 1895 - Mont-d'Or, France 1962)

Born in Frameries, Belgium, he studied in Brussels and Paris. He made his debut in Geneva in 1920, as Rodolfo in La bohème. He also appeared in Nice and Monte Carlo, before making his debut in 1927, at the Opéra-Comique in Paris, as Prince Dimitri in Franco Alfano's Risurrezione, opposite the soprano Mary Garden. His other roles there included Don José, Mylio, Werther, Canio, Cavaradossi, and Jean Gaussin in Massenet's Sapho.
He made his Paris Opéra debut at the Palais Garnier in 1929, in Henry Février's Monna Vanna. He sang there regularly until 1940, as Faust, Lohengrin, Radames, Siegmund and Samson. In 1934, he created there the role of Eumolphe in Stravinsky's Perséphone.
Maison also enjoyed a successful international career, appearing at the Lyric Opera of Chicago (1928-40), the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires (1934-37), the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in London (1931-36), and the Metropolitan Opera in New York. His Met debut occurred on February 3, 1936, as Stolzing in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. In eight seasons with the Met he sang Don José, Lohengrin, Samson, Julien, Florestan, Hoffmann, des Grieux and Herodes, among other roles.
In 1943, he began teaching at the Juilliard School in New York, and from 1957 until his death, at the Chalof School in Boston. Among his pupils was the baritone turned dramatic tenor Ramon Vinay.
Maison died in Mont-d'Or, France, aged 66. He was, in terms of birth dates, the middle member of a triumverate of outstanding Belgian operatic tenors who reached their peak in the period between the two world wars. The others were the lyric-dramatic tenor Fernand Ansseau (1890-1972) and the lyric tenor Andre D'Arkor (1901-1971).
Maison possessed a powerful and penetrating voice, capable of surprising nuance, and an impressive stage presence (he stood 6 feet 4 inches tall). Posterity is fortunate that he made some commercial, 78-rpm discs of French operatic arias which demonstrate his considerable merits as a singer. 

Chronology of some appearances

1928 Chicago Civic Opera House Carmen (Don Jose)
1929 Chicago Civic Opera House Lohengrin (Lohengrin)
1930 Chicago Civic Opera House Carmen (Don Jose)
1932 Chicago Civic Opera House Carmen (Don Jose)
1934 Buenos Aires  Teatro Colon Manon Lescaut (De Grieux)
1935 Buenos Aires  Teatro Colon Carmen (Don Jose)



Odeon, Paris 1927-05
Risurrezione (Alfano): Katiuska, ce jour exquis 188.532 Ki1228
Risurrezione (Alfano): Pleure, oui pleure 188.532 Ki1230

Odeon, Paris 1927 (between May & October)
Lohengrin (Wagner): Mon cygne aime 123.501  xxP6502
Lohengrin (Wagner): Recit du Gral 123.502 xxP6506

Odeon, Paris 1927-10
Louise (Charpentier): Mais un soir, dans l'escalier 188.539 Ki1363

Odeon, Paris 1927-10-31
Dannazione di Faust (Berlioz): Nature immense 123.502 xxP6523

Odeon, Paris 1927-11-02
Faust (Gounod): Me voici, d'ou vient ta surprise? 123.510, xxP6528
Faust (Gounod): O merveille with Julien Lafont 123.510, xxP6529

Odeon, Paris 1927-11/12
Lohengrin (Wagner): Ma confiance en toi 188.547 Ki1410

Odeon, Paris 1928-07-11
Sigurd (Reyer): Prince du Rhin 188.602 Ki1793

Odeon, Paris 1928-07-13
Favorite (Donizetti): Un ange, un femme inconnue 123.564 xxP6701

HMV, Paris 1934-05-14
Hérodiade (Massenet): Ne pouvent reprimer les élans DB4938 2PG1579

Jun 8, 2012

Bettina Freeman (Soprano) (Boston 1889 - ?)

She was a Boston-born opera singer with the San Carlo Opera Company who was active from 1913-1920.  Her mother is French and her father an American of German descent. She was educated in the public schools and began to take lessons on the piano at the age of thirteen, her teacher being Madame de Berg Lofgren, who began to teach her singing also when she was sixteen. When the Boston Opera enterprise was launched Madame Lofgren took her young pupil to the opera school, and after some coaching with Minetti and Conti, Miss Freeman made her debut as Siebel in " Faust," and sang with the Boston Opera Company for one season. Seeking an opportunity for larger parts she went to New York where she was engaged for the Quinlan Opera Company, and made a tour through England and Scotland, singing leading parts, — Madame Butterfly, Micaela, Gretel, and she even sang Elizabeth in Tannhauser, a role considered much too taxing for a young singer. Her voice is of mezzo-soprano quality with an unusual range. Miss Freeman had a rather unusual experience, for in 1907 being consumed with the desire to study abroad, she went to Paris, took three or four lessons, was taken ill, and returned to Boston in time to resume her lessons, in the fall, with Madame Lofgren. She thus made her operatic debut with practically no European study or experience

Chronology of some appearances

1909 Boston Opera House Aida (Sacerdotessa)
1910 Chicago Auditorium Carmen (Mercedes)
1916 New York Hotel Astoria Aida (Aida)
1918 Città del Messico Teatro Virginia Fabregas Gioconda (Gioconda)
1919 Winnipeg Teatro Walker Cavalleria rusticana (Santuzza)
1920 Calgary Grand Theater Faust (Margherita)
1921 Los Angeles Philarmonic Theater Trovatore (Leonora)
1922 New York Academy Theater Otello (Desdemona)
1924 Gorizia Teatro Sociale Andrea Chenier (Maddalena)
1925 Sanremo Teatro del Casinò Fedora (Fedora)
1926 Messina Teatro Mastroieni Fedora (Fedora)


Columbia, New York 1910-03-17
Nozze di Figaro (Mozart): Voi, che sapete H1050 30388

Columbia, New York 1910-03-23
Ugonotti (Meyerbeer): Nobil, Signori  A5215 30393
Trovatore (Verdi): Stride la vampa A5215 30399

Columbia, New York 1910-04-11
Rigoletto (Verdi): Bella figlia dell'amore with Florencio Constantino, Ramon Blanchart and Eugenia Bronskaja H1029 30422

Columbia, New York 1910-04-15
Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti): Chi mi frena with Florencio Constantino, Luigi Cilla, Ramon Blanchart, Eugenia Bronskaja and Jose Mardones A5177 30443

Columbia, New York 1910-04-23
A little thief (Stern) A856 4452
The little Irish girl (Löhr) A856 4451

Oreste De Bernardi (Tenor) (Torre Annunziata 1893 - Milano 1944)

He studied in Milan with under Cataldi and he made his debut  in 1913 at the Teatro Donizetti of Bergamo in ''La Traviata''. He had immediately to interrupt the career because of the Great War. In 1923 he sang in the absolute premiere of  ''Lucania'' of  B. Fonte at  the Teatro Verdi in  Pisa.

Chronology of some appearances

1913 Bergamo Teatro Donizetti Traviata (Alfredo)
1915 Novara Teatro Coccia Cavalleria rusticana (Turiddu)
1919 Alessandria Teatro Virginia Marini Boheme (Rodolfo)
1920 Novara Teatro Coccia Antigone di G. Bondonio
1921 Asti Politeama Nazionale Lucia di Lammermoor (Edgardo)
1922 Milano Teatro Dal Verme Boheme (Rodolfo)
1923 Pisa Teatro Verdi  Lucania di B. Fonte (Maurizio)
1924 Milano Teatro Verdi Rigoletto (Duca)
1925 Brescia Teatro Sociale Boheme (Rodolfo)
1926 Como Teatro Sociale Madama Butterfly (Pinkerton)
1927 Catania Teatro Bellini Turandot (Calaf)
1928 Padova Teatro Verdi Cavalleria rusticana (Turiddu)
1929 Bologna Teatro Duse Turandot (Calaf)
1930 Torino Teatro Regio Vascello Fantasma (Erik)
1931 Bari Teatro Petruzzelli Iris (Osaka)
1932 Sidney Her Majesty's Lucia di Lammermoor (Edgardo)
1934 Bologna Teatro Del Corso Turandot (Calaf)
1935 Novara Teatro Coccia Madama Butterfly (Pinkerton)
1936 Roma Teatro Adriano Cavalleria rusticana (Turiddu)
1938 Ancona Teatro Delle Muse Il Piccolo Marat (Marat)
1939 Empoli Aperto Gioconda (Enzo)
1940 Bagnacavallo Politeama Verdi Madama Butterfly (Pinkerton)
1941 Ancona Teatro Delle Muse Lucia di Lammermoor (Edgardo)



Fonit, Italy
Canzone del mare 7045 
O sole mio (Di Capua) 7023-A
Canta nu marenare (Valente)  7055-A
Passione (Bovio-Lama-Tagliaferri) 7055-B
Santa Lucia luntana (E. A. Mario) 8909-A 
'O marenariello (Gambardella) 8912-A
Piscatore e pusilleco (Murolo-Tagliaferri) 12918-A
Silenzio cantatore (Bovio- Lama) 12918-B
Partono gli emigranti 7054
Marechiare (Tosti) 7016-B
Core 'ngrato (Salvatore Cardillio) 7016-A

Fedora (Giordano): Amor ti vieta B 3017 
Tosca (Puccini): E lucean le stelle B 3009
Favorita (Donizetti): Spirto gentil B 3016 

Fonografia Nazionale
Fanciulla del West (Puccini): Ch'ella mi creda MA 7108
Gioconda (Ponchielli): Cielo e mar MA 7104
Rigoletto (Verdi): La donna è mobile MA 7074
Carmen (Bizet): La fleur que tu m'avais jetée MA 7107
Aida (Verdi): Se quel guerrier io fossi MA 7104
La vedova Allegra (Lehar): Tace il labbro with Rosa Ferlito V 9687 

Columbia, Milano
Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni): Lo so che il torto è mio with Gino Vanelli D5976 WB2310

Turandot (Puccini): Non piangere, Liu M 7075 23M/883
Rigoletto (Verdi): Questa o quella M 7074 25M/877
Iris (Mascagni): Apri la tua finestra  M 7209 25M/879
Carmen (Bizet): Il fior M 7107 25M/890

Turandot (Puccini): Nessun dorma  1408-2

Napule 'e notte
Silenzio cantatore 
Addio, bel sogno
Addio suonno luntano
'O Balcone 'E Napule
Rondine al nido
Solo tu nel cuore
Dammela nina dammela
Vieni sul Mar

Jun 7, 2012

Elias (Helio) Reis e Silva (Tenor) (Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil 1895- Rio de Janeiro 1958)

He made only one record, duet with his wife, soprano Carmen Gomes.

Chronology of some appearances

1923 San Paolo Teatro Municipal Rigoletto (Duke)
1929 San Paolo Teatro Santana Trovatore (Manrico)
1931 Buenos Ayres Teatro Marconi Gioconda (Enzo)
1933 San Paolo Teatro Municipal Otello (Otello)
1933 San Paolo Teatro Municipal Pagliacci (Canio)



Victor, Brazil 1929
Guarany (Gomez): Sento una forza indomita...Ma deh, che a me togliase with Carmen Gomes  91500

Jun 6, 2012

Tina Desana (Soprano) (Alessandria 1885 - Abano Terme 1979)

She made her debut at the Lyric Theater of Philadelphia in ‘’iI Trovatore’’. Probably she has sung at first in Italian provincial stages. In 1908 Desana made guest appearances in USA. She performed In Philadelphia, Washington and New York. In 1909 she sang at the Teatro Goldoni in Livorno in ‘’Wally’’. In 1911 she went to sing in  South America  (San Paolo, Montevideo, Buenos Ayres). The next year she was in Alessandria, where at the Teatro Alhambra she appeared in ‘’Iris’’ and ‘’Walkiria’’. Possibly she continues to perform on the opera stages until 1920.

Chronology of some appearances

1908 Philadelphia Lyric Theater Trovatore
1909 Livorno Teatro Goldoni Wally (Wally)
1910 Firenze Teatro Della Pergola Tannhauser (Elisabetta)
1911 San Paolo Teatro San Josè Manon Lescaut (Manon)
1912 Alessandria d'Egitto Teatro Alhambra Iris (Iris)
1913 Bagnacavallo Teatro Goldoni Wally (Wally)
1914 Palermo Politeama Garibaldi Iris (Iris)
1915 Parma Politeama Reinach Tosca (Tosca)
1916 Milano Teatro Carcano Cavalleria rusticana (Santuzza)
1917 Modena Teatro Storchi Carmen (Carmen)
1918 Buenos Ayres Teatro Colon Louise (Piccola Parrucchiera)
1919 Chieti Teatro Marruccino Carmen (Carmen)
1920 Buenos Ayres Teatro Colon Walkiria (Rossweisse)



Fonotipia, Milano 1910-05-13
Otello (Verdi): Piangea cantando 92667 xPh 4336

Fonotipia, Milano 1910-05-14
Ruy Blas (Marchetti): O madre mia dall'intimo 92665  xPh 4338
Forza del destino (Verdi): Ma pellegrina ed orfana 92668  xPh 4339

Fonotipia, Milano 1910-05-20
Ruy Blas (Marchetti): Larva adorata 92666 xPh 4341

Albertina Dal Monte (Contralto) (Faenza 1897 - ?)

She began her education with Savioni and with Alessandro Vezzanti in Bologna and then became a pupil of Manlio Bavagnoli in Milan. She made her debut in 1919 at theb Teatro Comnale of Faenza as Santuzza in ‘’Cavalleria rusticana’’. Since 1920 Dal Monte started to appear as mezzo-soprano and made her second debut at the Teatro Carcano in Milan. Here she sang the role of Countess  in ‘’Andrea Chenier’’. Her career evolved as follows:

1919 Faenza Teatro Comunale Cavalleria rusticana (Santuzza)
1920  Milano Teatro Carcano Andrea chenier (Contessa/Madelon)
1921 Milano Teatro Arena Gioconda (Laura)
1922 Palermo Teatro Biondo Aida (Amneris)
1923 Parma Teatro Regio Trovatore (Azucena)
1924 Brescia Teatro Grande Aida (Amneris)
1925 Parma Teatro Regio Aida (Amneris)
1926 Trieste Teatro Verdi Aida (Amneris)
1927 Cairo Kursaal Dalbagni Carmen (Carmen)
1928 Venezia Teatro La Fenice Aida (Amneris)
1929 Brescia Teatro Grande Favorita (Leonora)
1930 Genova Teatro Carlo Felice Aida (Amneris)
1931 Bologna Teatro Duse Trovatore (Azucena)
1933 Palermo Teatro Massimo Adriana Lecouvreur (Principessa)
1934 Bari Teatro Petruzzelli Ballo in maschera (Ulrica)
1935 Parma Teatro Regio Rigoletto (Maddalena)



HMV, Milano 1926-10-05
Trovatore (Verdi): Ai nostri monti with Aristodemo  Giorgini  R5443 7-254200
Trovatore (Verdi): Stride la vampa  R5329 7-253160

Antonin Trantoul (Tenor) (Toulouse 1887 - Marseille 1966)

After initial education at the Toulouse Conservatory he studied with the famous tenor Jean de Reszke in Paris.  He made his stage deubt in 1911 at the opera house of Nimes as Des Grieux in Massenet's Manon - the beginning of a big career.  From 1920-24 he was at the Opera-Comique in Paris and from 1923-35 was also at the Grand Opera.  His roles were the title character in Gounod's Faust, the Duke in Rigoletto, title characters in Lohengrin and Don Carlos, Manrico in Il Trovatore and the title character in Pizzetti's Fra Gherardo (he had sung the world premiere at La Scala on May 16, 1928).  He also participated in the world premieres of Charles-Marie Widor's Nerto (1924), and, at the Opera-Comique, Henri Busser's Les noces corinthiennes (May 10, 1922).  He switch into the heroic roles of his fach [at this time].  Toscanini was fond of his voice and summoned him to La Scala, where he appeared until 1931.  In 1926 he had the high point of his career when he sang the title role in Don carlo, and in 1927 he sang in Otello.  He sang in Boito's Nerone and made several guest appearances (around Italy) in this role.  In the 1929-30 season he sang at the Metropolitan Opera and at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires.  He gave up his stage career in 1935 and stayed in Marseille as a teacher.

Chronology of some appearances

1920 Madrid  Teatro Reale Madama Butterfly (Pinkerton)
1926 Milano  Teatro La Scala Carmen (Don Jose)
1926  Buenos Ayres  Teatro Colon Carmen (Don Jose)
1926 Firenze  Politeama Fiorentino Carmen (Don Jose)
1927 Parma Teatro Regio Carmen (Don Jose)
1927 Milano  Teatro La Scala Carmen (Don Jose)
1927 Milano  Teatro La Scala Otello (Otello)
1927  Bergamo  Teatro Donizetti Carmen (Don Jose)
1928 Bologna  Teatro Comunale Carmen (Don Jose)
1928 Napoli  Teatro San Carlo Otello (Otello)
1928  Milano  Teatro La Scala Otello (Otello)
1929  Milano  Teatro La Scala Carmen (Don Jose)
1929 Roma  Teatro dell'Opera Carmen (Don Jose)
1929 Torino  Teatro Regio Carmen (Don Jose)
1931 Milano  Teatro La Scala Norma (Pollione)



I wish to thank Jean Trantoul for providing me this record

Private Record 
Boheme (Puccini): Che gelida manina  
Tosca (Puccini): Le ciel luisait d'etoiles

Vera Amerighi-Rutili (Soprano) (Navacchio 1896 - Pisa 1952)

The Italian sopranos: Ester Mazzoleni, Giannina Russ, Eugenia Burzio, Iva Pacetti, Bianca Scacciati, Claudia Muzio, Giannina Arangi Lombardi, Tina Poli Randaccio, Celestina Boninsegna Gina Cigna, Caterina Mancini, Anita Cerquetti and Maria Caniglia are all familiar to opera fans around the world.  They had a great deal in common including, that their repuations as famous Normas survive, though several sang the role very few times.  Not all were equally successful, but each one left a stamp of individuality as the Druid priestess.  Unquestionably, Russ is the one whose fame most clearly rests on that role and she certainly sang more than one hundred performances of the opera in an illustrious career.  To round out the list of the Century's famous Normas, we can add Rosa Raisa, Maria Callas, Rosa Ponselle, Zinka Milanov, Montserrat Caballe and Joan Sutherland, each of whom can be counted among the most lauded sopranos of all time.  Rasponi's "The last Prima Donnas" states, "In the twenties and thirties there were very few who dared to challenge (Norma); among the successful were Raisa, Muzio, Scacciati, Pacetti, Ponselle, Amerighi-Rutili and Cigna."  This story is about the one who is least well known; the one who sang more performances of the role than any other in this Century, and in more places.
Amerighi was born at Pisa in 1896 and studied voice at the Florence Conservatory from 1915 until the end of World War One.  Leopoldo Mugnone discovered her during a concert for students at the academy and persuaded her to debut as Aida.  The venue was, surprisingly enough, London's Covent Garden in July of 1919, though other biographies list it as at Reggio Emilia during the same year.  Those performances took place three months later.  Harold Rosenthal, in his book "Two Centuries of Opera at Covent Garden" states that her intense performance was extremely successful, more successful than would be her career in her homeland.   Well, that isn't really true, but it does again highlight how little is known about her.
She sang ten performances of "Norma" at Reggio in late September and was immediately hired to repeat the opera at Catania's Massimo Bellini, a high honor indeed, for this  young, unknown singer.  She sang both Aida and Norma in the autumn and returned in February of 1920 for Donizetti's "Lucrezia Borgia" and her first performances of "La Gioconda".  Genoa's Politeama, hearing of this new sensation, offered her a contract and she debuted as Norma in mid year.  It was so successful that she was asked to return in November for performances of "Gioconda" and a new opera for her, "Mose", which she performed with Nazzareno De Angelis.  While in Genoa, the Carlo Felice presented her in two concerts with Angelo Minghetti.  Pisa also saw her Norma in 1920.
Amerighi Rutili was now among the most sought after singers from Italy. In 1921, she traveled to Lisbon, where, at the San Carlo she repeated the role as well as Gioconda.  Oporto also saw her in the Ponchielli work.  Later in the season she toured with Norma to several Adriatic cities, including Ancona and Trieste.  Her year ended at Palermo where she  debuted again as Norma.  During the years 1922 to 1924 she sang Norma at Milan's Teatro Lirico, and appeared as Gioconda in several Northern Italian cities including Mantua, Pisa and a tour of the Veneto. In the 1925-26 period she sang Norma at Parma with Irene Minghini Cattaneo and Renato Zanelli, at Venice, Cremona, Catania's Bellini and at Modena.  Venice's Fenice feted her to gala evenings of celebration not only for Norma, but Aida and Gioconda, which she also sang there to enormous success.  Ebe Stignani partnered her in the Bellini and Verdi operas.  At Turin's Teatro Chiarella she sang in "La Gioconda", at Bologna's Comunale  she sang the "Siegfried" Brunnhilde and at Pisa's Verdi she sang in "Il Trovatore" for the first time.
1927 saw Amerighi at Brescia, Trieste and Genoa in "Norma", and the Verona Arena presented her as the Grand Vestale in Spontini's opera.  In the autumn she undertook Elvira in "Ernani" for the first times at Pisa and Florence.  In 1928,at Genoa's Carlo Felice, she sang in Bellini's "Pirata"; at Milan's Dal Verme she presented the Druid priestess and Florence saw her as Aida.  1929 found her at Palermo for  "Tosca" and "L'Africaine", at Genoa, Florence and Como for Norma and at Mantua for "La Gioconda" with Apollo Granforte.  Amerighi also debuted at Milan's La Scala in "Vestale".  She had a fine success, but there were very negative observations about her girth, which was apparently, enormous. About her singing there was no equivocation.
1930 found her at Livorno for Aida, at Lecce for Aida and "La Forza del Destino" and at Trieste for Aida and "Il Trovatore".   She sang Norma at Pola, Bologna and Forli in 1931, as well as for Italian Radio at both Rome and Turin.   The Rome Radio station also presented her in "Il Trovatore".  Livorno and Genoa saw her as Norma in 1932 and Italian Radio of Turin hosted her in Donizetti's "Poliuto" and Verdi's "I Vespri Siciliani".  Vera's Rome stage debut was at the  Teatro Adriano in "La Gioconda".  In 1933 Fiume, Trento, and Bari all heard her in Norma and Cagliari and Sassari saw her Aida with Luigi Marletta, Minghini-Cattaneo and Apollo Granforte.
1934 was Amerighi's Norma year of Norma years.  She sang the role at Bolzano and Merano, and after singing Donna Anna and Norma at Trieste she embarked on a two month tour of Italy in the Bellini masterpiece with Irene Minghini Cattaneo, Ebe Stignani, Antonio Bagnariol, Antonio Melandri, Diulio Baronti, Pasero and Pinza.  Though the list of cities visited is not complete, she is known to have appeared at Civitavecchia, Rome, Grosseto, Livorno, Siena, Montevarchi, Frosinone, L'Aquila, Pescara, Foggia, Lecce, Perugia, San Severo and Chieti.
In 1935, the Centenary of Bellini's death, Amerighi debuted at both Piacenza and Monte Carlo as Norma and repeated the role at the Carlo Felice with the defining Oroveso of De Angelis.  In commemoration of the anniversary, Palermo's Massimo presented her in a gala production of "Pirata". At Bari, in 1936, she sang in "Aida" with Aureliano Pertile and in "Mefistofele" as Elena, and, she made her long overdue debut at Naples' San Carlo in "La Gioconda".  Naples' Teatro Giacosa also presented her as Gioconda and Frascati mounted "Aida" and "La Gioconda" for her.  At Assisi she sang in Perosi's "Resurrezione di Lazzaro".
In 1937, after "Gioconda" at Ancona, she made another two month tour of Italy with Carro di Tespi as Aida and Gioconda, singing at Grosseto, Pisa, Lodi, Lecco and Prato among about fifteen cities.  In the autumn, Amerighi appeared at Santiago, Chile and Lima, Peru in "La Forza del Destino", "Aida" and "Gioconda" and she returned to South America in 1938 for "Gioconda" and "Mefistofele" at Rio de Janeiro.  The career in opera was by now winding down, appearing sporadically at her home town, Pisa, in "Trovatore" and "Ernani" as well as in Turin as the "Trovatore" Leonora.   Concerts took most of her time and she offered at least one every year at Pisa until 1950 as well as in other cities of Tuscany and Liguria.  Galliano Masini partnered her at Livorno in 1940 and other singers often joined her in scenes from her beloved "Norma".  "Casta Diva' and "Mira o Norma" were programmed as late as 1946.  Amazingly, in 1947, she sang the Gotterdammerung Brunnhilde at Trieste, and with these performances her opera career came to an end.
Many years later Elena Nicolai was to say "I first sang Adalgisa at Piacenza with the remarkable Vera Amerighi-Rutili, .of huge dimensions, but with a nobility that left one in awe.  She taught me to understand the dignity of a priestess, and I shall always be grateful for her example and her advice."
Amerighi's performance total as Norma is uncertain, though I know it exceeds one hundred and fifty.  What is certain is that no other soprano in this Century has approached it.  Her several recordings of scenes from the opera are quite wonderful and for those who would want to know
more, she is represented on Genoa's Carlo Felice, One Hundred Years - Vol 5 in "Deh, non volerli vittime" with Antonio Righetti.  We find the voice to be in fine estate, clear, vibrant and with a ringing top though her ascent is rather ungraceful.  The tone is very forward and she can darken it for dramatic effect when she wishes.  The line is lovely and the dramatic urgency is very apparent.  I do not wonder why she was Italy's Norma for nearly twenty years.

Chronology of some appearances

1919 11 Firenze Teatro Della Pergola Mefistofele (Elena)
1922 05 Pavia Teatro Fraschini Norma (Norma)
1924 06 Firenze Politeama Fiorentino Aida (Aida)
1926 01 Venezia Teatro Fenice Aida (Aida)
1928 04 Genova Teatro Carlo Felice Il Pirata (Imogene)
1930 04 Livorno Politeama Aida (Aida)
1932 01 Pisa Teatro Verdi Concerto
1934 06 Livorno Piazza Luigi Orlando Norma (Norma)
1936 01/02 Bari Teatro Petruzzelli Aida (Aida)
1938 08 Rio de Janeiro Teatro Municipal Gioconda (Gioconda)
1940 07 Pisa Politeama Trovatore (Leonora)
1942 06 Massa Teatro Guglielmi Concerto
1943 01 Pisa Dopolavoro Ospedalieri Concerto
1947 Trieste Teatro Verdi Crepuscolo Degli Dei