Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Jun 25, 2015

Rafaelo Diaz (Tenor) (San Antonio, Texas May 16, 1883 – New York City December 12, 1943)

He was the son of Rafaelo and Rosa (Umscheid) Díaz. He was baptized Francisco Rafael Díaz but as an adult changed his name to Rafaelo Díaz. He received his early schooling at the German-English School in San Antonio and the West Texas Military Academy.qqv He showed musical talent at an early age and began his career as a pianist under the guidance of one of San Antonio's pioneer music teachers, Miss Amalia Hander. After his promising voice was discovered while he was studying at the Stern Conservatory in Berlin, Díaz went to Italy to study under famous Italian maestro Vincenzo Sabatini. He returned to America and made his debut in the Boston Opera Company's production of Giuseppe Verdi's ''Otello''. In 1917 he joined the Metropolitan Opera Company and performed leading tenor roles in Jules Massenet's ''Thaïs'' and Nikolai Rimski-Korsakov's ''Le Coq d'Or''. His stage presence and magnetic personality, along with his fine lyric tenor voice, kept him with the Metropolitan until 1936. He then toured the country with the Scotti Opera Company, making several stops in San Antonio along the way. In his spare time he made records for a leading phonograph company. He also conducted a series of concerts at the Waldorf-Astoria. Critics praised Díaz for his smooth performance, the depth and richness of his voice, the clarity of his enunciation, and the beauty of his phrasing. He sang in English, French, Spanish, Italian, and German, and was known as the "Lone Star Tenor of the Lone Star State." He never married.

Chronology of some appearances

1917-1936 New York Metropolitan Opera


Columbia, New York 1925-08-14
Manon (Massenet): Instant charmant... En fermant les yeux 5049-M W98193
Carmen (Bizet): La fleur que tu m'avais jetée 5049-M W98184

1 comment:

  1. My grandmother was a friend of Diaz in Berlin where they were both enrolled in the Stern conservatory. Both were studying piano. My mother Elizabeth was a baby at that time. My grandmother was Rosa Lee Gideon.