Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Dec 3, 2013

Giuseppe De Luca (Baritone) (Rome 1876 - New York 1950)



He early evinced promise as a singer, entering a singing school at the age of eight appearing in its choir as a boy s. of astonishing range. He entered the Santa Cecilia Accademia as early as 1892, when he was only fifteen. He studied five years with Venceslao Persichini (one of the most important coaches of the time). He was soon the prize pupil of the class (Tita Ruffo was another student at the same institute). In 1897, shortly before his twenty-first birthday, he made his début singing Valentin in Piacenza. The next important step was Milan. He appeared at the Teatro Lirico and La Scala for eight seasons. In 1907, 1910, 1911 he made guest appearances at Covent Garden and he also visited Poland and Russia. He was in formidable company where br.s were concerned: Scotti, Ruffo, Pacini and Sammarco were all on the roster of La Scala at his time. After 1915 he joined the ensemble of the Met and remained there as leading br. until 1946 (more than thirty years). He regularly appeared in South America, Spain, England, Russia, Germania and Austria. He created roles in several operas: Massenet’s Grisélidis and Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur in 1902, in 1903 Giordano’s Siberia and Sharpless in Puccini’s Madame Butterfly. Among his most frequent partners were Caruso, Rosa Ponselle, Claudia Muzio, Giovanni Martinelli, John McCormack, Adamo Didur and José Mardones. He sang Sancho Panza opposite Chaliapin at the world première of Massenet’s Don Quichotte in 1910. He had a repertoire of nearly 100 roles! He was an outstanding actor and was particularly acclaimed in character- and buffo roles. He sang the whole Verdi and Puccini repertoire. Apart from that he was successful as Wolfram and Beckmesser. He was a great Mozart singer (Don Giovanni, Figaro). His career lasted almost five decades! Comment: Clemens Höslinger writes: “De Luca’s recordings are among the most treasured belcanto documents known to to posterity. He was an artist who combined exquisite musicality and taste with a voice of rare distinction. His cultivated tone production, his legato technique and, not least, his pellucid diction make him paragon of vocal virtues...” De Luca was a master of legato singing. He used his voice with great skill. There is a wonderful nobility in his manner, and his singing commands attention by virtue of it as well as by its beauty. He had a strong sense of duty and always sang what was within the possibilities of his voice. De Luca was a prolific recording artist (he recorded from the very beginning until the end of his career). I cannot mention all his great recordings, but as a start I would recommend the Fonotipia recordings from 1905 and 1907. His voice got extremely well with the recording process. He makes the buffo- and character roles to the best ever recorded (Malatesta, Barbiere and... ). But also the more dramatic arias (in Andrea Chénier, Zazà, Rigoletto, Erodiade, Renato and... ) are superbly sung.

Chronology of some appearances

Il barone Scarpia 12/28/1915, Tonio 3/14/1916, Figaro 3/21/1916, Le grandprêtre de Dagon 11/28/1916, Plunkett 12/19/1916, Escamillo 1/9/1917, Rigoletto 3/6/1917, Sparafucile 3/6/1917, Giorgio Germont 2/5/1918, 2/5/1918, Rigoletto 3/12/1918, Il conte di Luna 4/16/1918, Mârouf 11/19/1918, Il suo visir 11/19/1918, Belcore 11/26/1918, Gianni Schicchi 12/17/1918, Ser Amantio di Nicolao 12/17/1918, Amonasro 1/7/1919, Figaro 2/4/1919, Il conte di Luna 3/4/1919, Don Carlo di Vargas 3/25/1919, Rigoletto 4/8/1919, Sparafucile 4/8/1919, Belcore 12/2/1919, Rigoletto 1/20/1920, Lord Enrico Asthon 4/13/1920, Ye vgeny Onegin 4/20/1920, Rodrigo 1/25/1921, Deputy 1/25/1921, 1/25/1921, Rigoletto 3/15/1921, Rodrigo 2/7/1922, Deputy 2/7/1922, 2/7/1922, Giorgio Germont 2/14/1922, 2/14/1922, Le grand-prêtre de Dagon 4/18/1922, Escamillo 3/13/1923, Giorgio Germont 4/3/1923, Lord Enrico Asthon 2/5/1924, Plunkett 2/19/1924, Magd 2/19/1924, Scindia 3/18/1924, Coppélius 12/2/1924, Dr. Miracle 12/2/1924, Dapertutto 12/2/1924, Sharpless 1/13/1925, Hoël 2/3/1925, Mercutio 2/17/1925, Plunkett 11/10/1925, Sancho Panza 4/6/1926, Ping 11/30/1926, Tonio 12/20/1927, Sharpless 1/3/1928, Figaro 1/31/1928, Dapertutto 2/14/1928, Rigoletto 12/4/1928, Lescaut 1/1/1929, Lord Enrico Asthon 3/26/1929, L’ondino 10/29/1929, Miller 1/14/1930, Mercutio 1/28/1930, Valentin 2/18/1930, Belcore 3/25/1930, Tonio 11/18/1930, Figaro 1/27/1931, Lescaut 3/24/1931, Giorgio Germont 12/1/1931, Rigoletto 1/19/1932, Marcello 2/2/1932, Figaro 3/22/1932, Rigoletto 2/7/1933, Lescaut 3/7/1933, Gianni Schicchi 1/23/1934, Lescaut 1/30/1934, Mercutio 2/20/1934, Marcello 2/13/1940, Giorgio Germont 2/27/1940, Rigoletto 5/21/1946 (in Filadelfia).


G&T, Milano 1902-12
Adriana Lecouvreur (Cilea): Monologo di Michonet 52420 2881b
Re di Lahore (Massenet): O casto fior 52422  2884b
Favorita (Donizetti): Vien Leonora  52423 2885b
Ballo in Maschera (Verdi): Eri tu che macchiavi 52424 2886b
Amleto (Thomas): Come il romito fior 52425 2887b
Don Giovanni (Mozart): Serenate  52426 2889b
Favorita (Donizetti): A l’altro ardor with Elvira Ceresoli 54021 2933b
Don Pasquale (Donizetti): Bella siccome un angelo 52444 2935b

G&T, Milano 1903-11/12
Siberia (Giordano): O mia bella with Gaetano Pini-Corsi, Oreste Gennari and Vittorio Pozzi-Camolla 054039 Con749
Siberia (Giordano): Quest'orgoglio with Rosina Storchio 54048 Con394
Siberia (Giordano): La conobbie 52773 Con391

Fonotipia, Milano 1905-04
Damnation de Faust (Berlioz): Canzone della pulce 39165 xPh 207  
Damnation de Faust (Berlioz): Su queste rosa 39170 xPh 208
Damnation de Faust (Berlioz): E che fai tú 39168 xPh 211  
Zaza (Leoncavallo): Zaza, piccola zingara  39366  xPh 227
Occhi di fata (Denza) 39169 xPh 228

Fonotipia, Milano 1907-01-12
Don Pasquale (Donizetti): Cheti, cheti immantinente with Ferruccio Corradetti 39975 XPh2294
Don Pasquale (Donizetti): Aspetta, aspetta cara sposina with Ferruccio Corradetti 39976 XPh2295
Don Pasquale (Donizetti): Bella siccome un angelo 39939 xPh 2296  
Rigoletto (Verdi): Pari siamo! 39947 xPh 2297  
Faust (Gounod): Dio possente 39949 XPh2298

Fonotipia, Milano 1907-01-14
Pikova Dama (Tchaikovsky): Se all'egual di vaghi augelli 39936 XPh2302
Trovatore (Verdi): Il balen 39943 xPh 2304  
Pastorale (Leva): 59075 xPh 2303  
Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini): Largo al factotum 39951 xPh 2306
Ernani (Verdi): O! de’verd’anni miei  39944 xPh 2307
Favorita (Donizetti): Vien Leonora 39935 xPh 2308
Ballo in Maschera (Verdi): Eri tu, che macchiavi 39945 xPh 2305

Fonotipia, Milano 1907-01-15
Don Giovanni (Mozart): Deh, vieni alla finestra 39940 XPh2312
Dinorah (Meyerbeer): Sei vendicata assai 39952 xPh 2313  
Re di Lahore (Massenet): O casto fior 39953 xPh 2314  
Herodiade (Massenet): Visione fuggitiva 1907 xPh 2315  39954
Favorita (Donizetti): A tanto amor 39955 xPh 2316
Ballo in Maschera (Verdi): Alla vita che t’arride 39946 xPh 2317

Fonotipia, Milano 1907-01-16
Brilla la luna (Morlacchi) 39980 xPh 2324
Dolce Madonna (De  Luca) 59076 xPh 2325  
Hamleto (Thomas): Come il romito fior 39979 xPh 2326  
Mia sposa sarа (Rotoli) 39978 xPh 2327
Gioconda (Ponchielli): O monumento! 39950 XPh2328

Fonotipia, Milano 1907-01-23
Traviata (Verdi): Di Provenza il mar 39948 xPh 2356
Linda di Chamounix (Donizetti): Ambo nati in questa valle   39956 xPh 2357  
Le Nozze di Figaro (Mozart): Aprite un po’ quegl’ochi 39941 xPh 2358  
Le Nozze di Figaro (Mozart): Se vuol ballare? 39942 xPh 2359

Fonotipia, Milano 1907-01-28
Guillaume Tell (Rossini): Resta immobile 39983 xPh 2366
Ideale  (Tosti) 39982 xPh 2367  
Due Ciabatini (Ruggi ) with Ferruccio Corradetti 62002 xPh 2368

Fonotipia, Milano 1907-01-29
Impressioni campestri (E voi passate nel vial) (de Leva) 39986 xPh 2370
Lungi а amor (Aria antica) (Fasolo) 39984 xPh 2371  
Zaza (Leoncavallo): Buono Zaza del mio buon tempo 3998 5xPh 2372
Germania: Ferito prigionier 39977 xPh 2379  

Fonotipia, Milano 1907-01-31
Tannhauser (Wagner): O tu bell'astro 39987 XPh2385
Don Pasquale (Donizetti): Pronta io son with Aida Gonzaga 62010 XPh2386
Don Pasquale (Donizetti): Convien far la semplicetta with Aida Gonzaga 62011 XPh2387


  1. Dear Sir, My name is John C. Caruson... I'm the 2nd son of the 2nd son of the third marriage of Guglielmo Caruson b.1862 Naples. d. Jan. 9, 1928. My Grandfather was one of the Three baritones. Mattia Battistini, Giuseppe De Luca, & Guglielmo Caruson. All students of Persichinii and studied with Antonio Cotogni. G. Caruson sang at the centenary celebration of the birth of Donizetti under the baton of Arturo Toscanini in 1894. I believe he may have worked with Marconi in recording c1902 after he retired from the stage. Have you ever seen any recordings of my Grandfather Guglielmo Caruson? His first wife was Aurelia Catanio. (died in child labor?) Child..?) Second wife, Maria Judice, (three chilidren...1. Brunildi Judice "Movie Star", 2 Carlo and 3 Salvitori... and third wife, my grandmother, Julia Linse. (two children) Charles and William. William was my father. So... Please... do you have a recording or know where I might try to find a recording even if he is not the lead singer.??? Thank you, Sir... John Charles Caruson

    1. DearJohn great thanks for your comment. Unfortunately your grandfather never made records.
      All the best

  2. I have returned to find your note... I am sad about that... Have you ever seen any recordings by his second wife, Maria Judice? I am happy to see, her daughter, my Aunt Brunildi's movies on Youtube. I found her from my cousin, Sofia Carli, only after the death of both of her half brothers who never knew her. Please tell me if you know any recordings of Maria Judice? or Maria Judice Caruson? one in the same... Thank you sir..! OH.. my contact:

    1. Dear John I know Maria Giudice, I all my life want to find her recordings, but in vain. I know that she made some recordings for Fonotipia, but where to find, I don't know unfortunately.
      All the best