Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Aug 24, 2016

Karl Norbert (Bass) (Prague, Czech Republic 3/10, 1893 – Vienna, Austria 6/8, 1936)

He was born Karel Novotny. He was trained by Konrad Wallerstein in Prague and made his debut in 1914 at the German Theater in Prague. He belonged to the ensemble of this opera house till 1920. Then up to his death he was a highly respected member of the Vienna State Opera. He achieved a huge success particularly as an interpreter of the parts in Mozart's operas. Since 1922 he sang at the Salzburg festival, where he appeared almost yearly till 1935. Here his repertoire included Bartolo in  "Figaros Hochzeit" (1922, 1931-35),  Osmin in "Entführung aus dem Serail" (1926 and 1932), Leporello in "Don Giovanni" (1922) and Don Alfonso in ‘’Così fan tutte’’ (1922 and 1935). Two other star roles of the artist were the Sarastro in "Zauberflöte" and the Kezal in "Verkauften Braut" by Smetana. In 1935 he appeared at the Vienna State Opera in the premiere of the opera "Die Dame im Traum" by Franz Salmhofer. He made successful guest appearances at the Court Opera of Dresden (1917), also in Paris, Prague, Berlin and Munich.

Chronology of some appearances

1914-1920 Prague  German Theater
1921-1936 Vienna State Opera


Vox, Berlin 1922-08?
Zauberflöte (Mozart): O Isis uns Osiris 3167 768B
Zauberflöte (Mozart): In diesen heil'gen Hallen 3167 769B

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Aug 21, 2016

Carmen Bonaplata-Bau (Soprano) (Barcelona, Spain 1871 - Barcelona, Spain 11/2 1911)

She was the daughter of the Spanish author Teodoro Bonaplata. In 1886 she made her debut at the Teatro Dal Verme in Milano in G. Verdi’s ‘’Aida’’. During her career this part remained her special star role . In 1891 she appeared at the Teatro Argentina in Roma again as Aida. In 1890 she married the conductor Lorenzo Bau. In the 1892-1893 season she sang at the Teatro alla Scala in Milano. Here she made her debut as Isabella in ‘’Cristoforo Colombo’’ and participated also in performances of R. Wagner’s ‘’Fliegenden Holländer’’ and in ‘’Il figliuol prodigo’’ by A. Ponchielli. In 1894 at the same opera house she sang the part of Sieglinde in R. Wagner’s ‘’Walküre’’ and in the title role in A. Catalani’s ‘’Loreley’’, in 1897 as Elisabetta in ’’Don Carlo’’. In 1894 she was active at the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genova, in 1896 in Buenos Aires. In the 1896-97 season she was to be heard at the Teatro San Carlo in Napoli. She undertook a tour through the USA and appeared as a guest at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo (1901) and at the Court Operas of St. Petersburg and Moscow (1897). In 1900 she was active at the Teatro Regio in Parma, where she sang the part of Aida opposite the Spanish tenor Carlo Barrera. As Gioconda she appeared with great success at the Teatro Regio in Torino (1892) and at the Teatro Politeama in Palermo (1893). She retired from the stage in 1904. Her daughter Carmen (Carmelita) Bau de Bonaplata, like her mother, became a respected soprano and appeared with success at italian and Spanish operatic stages.

Chronology of some appearances

1886 Milano Teatro Dal Verme Aida (Aida)
1890 Verona Ristori Aida (Aida)
1891 Roma Teatro Argentina Aida (Aida)
1891 Bergamo Riccardi Aida (Aida)
1891 Bergamo Riccardi Cavalleria Rusticana (Santuzza)
1891 Bari Piccinni Cavalleria Rusticana (Santuzza)
1891 Barcellona Liceo Aida (Aida)
1891 Barcellona  Liceo Lohengrin (Elsa)
1892 Santander Principal Africana (Selika)
1892 Siviglia San Ferdinando Aida (Aida)
1892 Bilbao  Arriaga Aida (Aida)
1892 Torino Teatro Regio Gioconda (Gioconda)
1892 Milano Teatro alla Scala Cristoforo Colombo (Isabella)
1893 Palermo Politeama Gioconda (Gioconda)
1893 Madrid  Reale Lohengrin (Elsa)
1893 Madrid Reale Gioconda (Gioconda)
1894 Cadice Principal Africana (Selika)
1894 Cadice Principal Aida (Aida)
1894 Cadice Principal Norma (Norma)
1894 Varsavia Imperiale Aida (Aida)
1894 Milano Teatro alla Scala Walküre (Sieglinde)
1894 Milano Teatro alla Scala Loreley (Loreley)
1895 Montevideo Solis Aida (Aida)
1895 Varsavia Imperiale Otello (Desdemona)
1896 Lisbona San Carlos Africana (Selika)
1896 Lisbona  San Carlos Lohengrin (Elsa)
1896 Buenos Ayres Opera Africana (Selika)
1896 Buenos Ayres Opera Aida (Aida)
1896 Brooklyn  Academy of Music Andrea Chenier (Maddalena)
1896 Philadelphia Academy of Music Andrea Chenier (Maddalena)
1897 Buenos Ayres Opera Andrea Chenier (Maddalena)
1897 Montevideo Solis Andrea Chenier (Maddalena)
1897 Montevideo Solis Africana (Selika)
1897 Milano Teatro alla Scala Don Carlo (Elisabetta) 
1899 Valencia  Principal Africana (Selika)
1899 Lisbona San Carlos Mefistofele (Margherita)
1900 Parma Teatro Regio Aida (Aida)   
1901 Parma Teatro Regio Tosca (Tosca)
1901 Siviglia San Ferdinando Africana (Selika)
1901 Siviglia  San Ferdinando Lohengrin (Elsa)
1902 Valencia Principal Tosca (Tosca)
1902 Barcellona  Liceo Tosca (Tosca)
1902 Vera Cruz  Dehesa  Traviata (Violetta)

Carmen Bonaplata-Bau never made recordings

Aug 20, 2016

Merle Alcock (Contralto) (Andover, Missouri 1890 - Phoenix, Arizona 1/3, 1975)

She was born Merle Tillotson. She studied singing at the Drake Conservatory in Des Moines and later with William Wade Hinshaw, Paul Savage and Herbert Witherspoon. Under her real name she made her debut in 1914 in a concert in London. In 1914 she married the tenor Bechtel Alcock and since then sang under this name. In 1915 she appeared in New York as a soloist with New York Symphony Orchestra and now became a known oratorio contralto. In 1915 she appeared at the festival in Worcester, in 1918 she had a triumphant success in a concert with the New Yorker Philharmoniker. She counted as an excellent interpreter of the works of J. S. Bach and G. Fr. Händel. Only in 1923 she made her debut at the operatic stage. In 1923 she appeared at the Metropolitan Opera in New York as Beppe in ‘’Amico Fritz’’ by P. Mascagni. Till 1929 she had at the Metropolitan Opera a huge success and among other things her repertoire included Maddalena in ‘’Rigoletto’’, Cieca in ‘’La Gioconda’’ by A. Ponchielli, Lola in ‘’Cavalleria Rusticana’’, she sang also in ‘’Le Roi de Lahore’’ of J. Massenet, ‘’Le Coq of d'or’’ by N. Rimsky-Korsakov, in U. Giordano’s ‘’La cena delle beffe’’ and in ‘’La Vida breve’’ by M. de Falla. In 1929 she appeared in the première of the opera ‘’Fra Gherardo’’ by I. Pizzetti. In 1924 she sang at the festival of Ravinia the part of Ortrud in ‘’Lohengrin’’. In 1930 she undertook an America tour with the San Carlo Opera Company as Carmen. After her retirement she taught  singing in New York. The soprano Eileen Farrell and the tenor George Maran belonged to her pupils.

Chronology of some appearances

1923-1929 New York Metropolitan Opera

Vida Ferluga (Mezzo-Soprano) (Opčine, Slovenia 17 March 1895 - Milano, Italia ? 1924)


She was of Slovenian descent. She was born into a family of a teacher, singer and composer Štefan Ferluga. First she received her musical education by her father, then studied singing at the Conservatory of Pesaro. She had a successful career, but unfortunately died of typhus quite young.

Chronology of appearances

1916 Bergamo Teatro Donizetti Mefistofele (Marta/Pantalis) with Beniamino Gigli (Faust),  Carmelita Bau de Bonaplata (Margherita),  Ines Vannini (Elena), Giuseppe Nessi (Wagner/Nereo) and Angelo Masini Pieralli (Mefistofele)

1916 Genova Teatro Carlo Felice Goffredo Mamelli (Cristina Trivulzio) with Carmelo Alabiso (Goffredo Mameli), Eugenia Burzio (Delia Terzaghi) and Emilio Bione (Carlo Terzaghi) 

1916 Prato Politeama Ermete Novelli Goffredo Mamelli (Cristina Trivulzio) with Carmelo Alabiso (Goffredo Mameli), Francesca Solari (Delia) and Emilio Bione (Carlo Terzaghi)

1917 Roma Teatro Costanzi Gioconda (Laura/shared with Matilde Blanco-Sadún) with Sara Cesar (Gioconda),  Beniamino Gigli (Enzo) and Arturo Romboli/Giuseppe Danise (Barnaba)

1918 Roma Teatro Costanzi Adriana Lecouvreur (principessa Bouillon) with Carmen Toschi (Adriana Lecouvreur),  Beniamino Gigli (Maurizio) and Giuseppe Danise (Michonnet)

1918  Roma Teatro Costanzi Favorita (Leonora) with Dino Borgioli (Fernando), Giuseppe Danise (Alfonso XI) and Giulio Cirino (Baldassarre)

1918 Bologna Teatro Comunale Aida (Amneris/shared with  Giuseppina Bertazzoli Gibellini/Maria Pedrazzi) with Ester Mazzoleni/Mercedes Aicardi (Aida), Alessandro Dolci/Pietro Zeni (Radamès) and Giuseppe Bellantoni (Amonasro)

1920 Venezia  Teatro alla Fenice La walkiria  (Fricka/Schwertleite) with Cesira Ferrani, (Helmwige)Icilio Calleja (Sigmondo),  Angelo Masini-Pieralli (Wotan), Tagida Tavares (Siglinda), Berta Zulian Venturini (Brunilde)

1922 Napoli Teatro San Carlo Sigfrido (Erda) with Icilio Calleja (Sigfrido), Nicola Rakowsky (Alberico),  Elena Rakowska-Serafin (Brunilde), Luciano Donaggio (viandante/Wotan) and Franco Zaccarini (Fafner) 

1924 Napoli Teatro San Carlo Fedra (Etra) with Mafalda De Voltri (schiava Ipponoe), Ettore Parmeggiani (Ippolito),  Giulia Tess (Fedra) and Leone Paci (pirata fenicio)


Phonotype, Napoli
Rigoletto (Verdi): with Angela De Angelis, Fernando De Lucia and Antonio Armentano Anticorona

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