Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Mar 24, 2018

Ion Dumitrescu (Tenor) (Giovanni Dimitresco) (Iaşi, Romania 30 December 1860 - London, England 4 March 1913)

First he studied in Iaşi, then in Bucharest under Giuseppe Cima. In 1885 he made his debut at the National Opera in Bucharest in the title role in G. Verdi's ‘’Ernani’’. After further studies in Milan with famous pedagogue Francesco Lamperti, he sang with great success at the Teatro Filodrammatico in G. Verdi's ‘’Rigoletto’’ and ‘’Trovatore’’. In the 1888-1889 season he undertook an Australian tour as a member of Italian opera company. In 1890 and 1892 he had a huge success at the Covent Garden Opera in London; here his repertoire included Don Ottavio in ‘’Don Giovanni’’, Enzo in ‘’Gioconda’’, Radames in ‘’Aida’’ and José in ‘’Carmen’’. In the 1890-1892 seasons he was a member of the Carl Rosa Opera Company, which made guest tours through England. Later he made guest appearances in Barcelona, Zurich (1901), Warsaw, Kiev, Moscow and St. Petersburg. His interpretation of Vasco in ‘’L'Africaine’’ and Raoul in ‘’Huguenots’’ was considered unsurpassed and compared to Enrico Tamberlik’s interpretation. He retired from the stage in 1912. Probably he committed suicide. Dimitresco never made records.

Chronology of some appearances

1888 Melbourne  Her Majesty's Trovatore (Manrico)
1888 Melbourne  Her Majesty's Carmen (Jose)
1888 Melbourne  Her Majesty's Rigoletto (Duca)
1888  Rio de Janeiro  Teatro Municipal Carmen (Jose)
1889 Sidney  New Opera House Carmen (Jose)
1889 Melbourne  Her Majestic's Ballo in maschera (Riccardo)
1890  Torino  Teatro Balbo Rigoletto (Duca)
1897 Parma  Teatro Regio Cavalleria Rusticana (Turiddu)
1897 Parma  Teatro Regio Pagliacci (Canio)
1897 Santiago del Cile  Teatro Municipal Trovatore (Manrico)
1898 Napoli  Teatro Bellini Traviata (Alfredo)
1898 Rio de Janeiro  Teatro Lirico Ugonotti (Raoul)
1899  Napoli  Teatro Bellini Ballo in maschera (Riccardo)
1899 Roma  Teatro Nazionale Rigoletto (Duca)
1900 Lisbona Teatro San Carlo Robert le diable (Robert)
1901  San Paolo  Teatro Santana Pagliacci (Canio)
1901 San Paolo  Politeama Trovatore (Manrico)
1901 Rio de Janeiro  Teatro Lirico Ugonotti (Raoul)
1902 Napoli Teatro San Carlo Ernani (Ernani)
1903 Trieste Verdi Germania (Federico)
1909 Quito Teatro Sucre Ernani (Ernani)
1910 Lima Teatro  Forero Ernani (Ernani)
1910 Lima Teatro  Forero Mefistofele (Faust)
1911 Genova  Teatro Carlo Felice Madama Butterfly (Pinkerton)
1911 Lecce  Politeama Greco Madama Butterfly (Pinkerton)
1911 Carpi  Teatro Comunale Madama Butterfly (Pinkerton)
1911 Roma  Teatro Nazionale Pagliacci (Canio)
1912 Bologna  Teatro Del Corso Rigoletto (Duca)
1912 Genova Politeama Genovese Tosca (Cavaradossi)

Mar 22, 2018

Estalle Bloomfield (Mezzo-soprano)


In 1904 she participated in the concert at Minneapolis organized by Walter Damrosch. As a member of Henry W. Savage Opera Company she appeared at the Illinois Theater in Chicago as Suzuki in ‘’Madama Butterfly’’ (1907). She made guest appearances also at the Royal Opera in Dresden.

Chronology of some appearances

1904 Minneapolis Concert
1907 Chicago Illinois Theater
1908? Dresden Royal Opera

Blanche Arral (Soprano) (Liège, Belgium 10 October 1864 – Palisades Park, New Jersey 3 March 1945)

Born Clara Lardinois in Liège, Belgium, she studied under Mathilde Marchesi in Paris. In 1883 she began her career (under her real name) at the Opéra-Comique in Paris. Here she made her debut as Anita in ‘’Le portrait de Cervantes’’ of Dieulafary. She sang there small roles, appeared also in the premiere of J. Massenet’s ‘’Manon’’ (19. 1. 1884). Later she performed in various opera houses in Brussels, Paris and St. Petersburg before moving to the United States. In 1901 she was with a touring company in Indochina, while waiting for the 1902 Exposition of Hanoi to open, performing at Haiphong and the Hanoi Opera House. She joined the Metropolitan Opera for the 1909–1910 season. Unexpectedly in 1935 she gave some concerts on the American broadcasting company on which she herself commented and told numerous anecdotes from her career. Later she lived in New York.

Chronology of some appearances

1883 Paris Opéra-Comique
1909-1910 New York Metropolitan Opera

Mar 21, 2018

Melanie Kurt (Soprano) (Vienna January 8, 1880 – New York City March 11, 1941)


She was born on January 8, 1880 in Vienna. Melanie Kurt first studied to become a pianist in her native City of Vienna before starting to take singing lessons. Later she went to Berlin, where Marie Lehmann, sister of the great soprano Lilli Lehmann, became her teacher. From 1897 to 1900 she only appeared as a pianist, before she gave her début at the civic theatre in Lübeck as 'Elisabeth' in Richard Wagner's Tannhäuser in 1902. From 1903 to 1904 she was engaged at Oper Leipzig, after further studies in Berlin she worked in Braunschweig from 1905 to 1908 before returning to Berlin where she sang at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, then (from 1912 to 1915) at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. From her Berlin base Kurt started her international career, giving successful guest performances at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, London (since 1910) and during the Salzburg Mozart-Fest in 1910 (which would become the Salzburg Festival later). Later she added La Scala in Milan, the Vienna State Opera, the Saxon State Opera Dresden and the Bavarian State Opera to the list. Her career reached its peak when she joined the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in 1914 where she succeeded Olive Fremstad as the company's leading Wagner soprano for three years. Her contract ended when the USA joined World War I in 1917 and Wagner operas were banned as being to German. Though the situation was difficult for Kurt she didn't return to Europe at once but stayed in the US until 1919 before returning to Germany. In the following years she sang mainly in Berlin again, in Leipzig, Stuttgart, Dresden, Vienna and at the famous Wagner Festival in Zoppot (1922), then a serious rival to the Bayreuth Festival. Around 1930 the singer retreated gradually from stage and started working as a teacher in Berlin. After 1933 Kurt - who was Jewish - had to emigrate to Vienna. In 1938, when the Nazis took over Austria Kurt left the continent for good and returned to the USA. Until her death in 1941 she lived and taught in New York City.

Chronology of some apperances

1902 Lübeck Civic Theatre
1903-1904 Leipzig Oper
1905-1908 Berlin Staatsoper
1910 London Covent Garden
1912-1915 Berlin Staatsoper
1914 New York Metropolitan Opera 

Éva Gauthier (Ottawa, Ontario September 20, 1885 – New York City December 20 or 26, 1958)

She began her education at the age of 13 with Frank Buels in Ottawa and as a young girl sang in 1901 in Ottawa as contralto at St. Patrick's Church in church concerts. In 1901 she was sent to Europe for further studies. There she was a student of Dubulle and Bouhy in Paris, William Shakespeare in London and Anna Schoen-Rene in Berlin. In 1905 she had a great success as concert singer in Paris. In 1906 she accompanied the famous prima donna Emma Albani as assistant artist on her farewell tour through Canada. After additional education under legendary tenor Giuseppe Oxilia in Milan, she made her debut at the Teatro Regio in Parma, now as soprano, singing the part of Micaela in ‘’Carmen’’ (1910). The same year she also appeared at the London Covent Garden. In 1911 she married a Dutchman, with whom she moved to Batavia, Java. In 1916 she separated from him and came to North America. Here she gave very successful concerts. She was a friend of such a composers like Schoenberg, Satie, Ravel, Stravinsky, Honegger and Poulenc and was regarded as an important interpreter of songs of modern composers. In 1917 she appeared in Stravinsky's ‘’Poème Japonais’’ at Aeolian Hall in New York. In 1923 she first time sang George Gershwin’s works during a song recital in New York and was accompanied by the composer at the piano. She also appeared in Europe in the 1920’s. In 1925 she performed in Venice. In 1926 and 1928 she made guest appearances in Berlin. Her career lasted until the years of World War II. Her sister Juliette Gauthier (1888-1972) was a mezzo soprano and like her a successful concert singer.

Chronology of some appearances

1910 Parma Teatro Regio
1910 London Covent Garden

Peter Dawson (Bass-Baritone) (Adelaide, South Australia 31 January 1882 – Sydney, Australia 27 September 1961)

He was known in his youth as an athlete, namely as a boxer. He decided to study singing after winning a gold medal at an amateur competition in Ballarat. He came to England in 1902 and became a student of Sir Charles Santley. Since about 1904 he traveled to England, gave everywhere under the pseudonym Hector Grant Ballad Concerts and participated as an assisting artist on tours of famous singers (such as Emma Albani). In 1909 he completed a very successful Australian tour. During the First World War he appeared in many charity concerts in England as well as in Australia. In 1926 he gave a series of concerts at the Wigmore Hall and at the Aeolian Hall in London. In 1931, together with the pianist Mark Hambourg, he traveled in Australia. He made eight major tours through Australia and New Zealand and several trips through South Africa. He performed in India, Japan and China. He rarely appeared on stage, as in 1907 and 1909 at the London Covent Garden as comprimario in ‘’Meistersingern’’. In 1955 he sang in the English radio and still after his 70th year of life he made records. He was the teacher of soprano Joan Cross. He published an autobiography entitled 'Fifty Years of Song' (London, 1951). He also worked as a composer of songs and ballads, which he edited under the pseudonym P. MacCall.

Chronology of some appearances

1907 London Covent Garden
1909 London Covent Garden

Mar 12, 2018

Enrico Rigattieri (Tenor)


He studied singing in Florence under Giovanni Mirabella and made his debut as Duke in ‘’Rigoletto’’. He was only 24 years old. Then he was chosen by Pietro Mascagni for appearances in ‘’Cavalleria Rusticana’’ in Cairo and Alexandria. He made guest appearances also in Berlin, where he and made a few, very rare records for Vox. In Berlin he sang opposite Titta Ruffo. He then sang the role of the Duke of Mantua in "Rigoletto" at the Teatro Dal Verme, in Milan. The late Enrico Caruso was in the audience on that occasion, and was so impressed with Rigattlert's Interpretation of the part of the Duke that he personally complimented him, and presented him with a sword which Caruso himself used in the same opera. They then for six months toured India, where he sang about 20 different roles. He appeared also in Paris, Holland, Vienna, Germany, Russia, and Poland, singing with great success. From there he came to Australia, where ho appeared at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne, and His Majesty's Theatre, Perth, with the Italo-Australlan Grand Opera Company (1920-1930’s).

Chronology of some appearances

1919 Prato  Politeama Tosca (Cavaradossi)
1919 Prato  Politeama Traviata (Alfredo)
1920 Prato Teatro Metastasio Cavalleria Rusticana (Turiddu)
1920-1930’s Australia Western Australian Grand Opera Company/ Adelaide Town Hall

Mar 11, 2018

Zinoviy Babii (Village Pidsadky, Lviv Region, Ukraine 1935 – Minsk, Belarus 1984)

He was one of the best Ukrainian tenors of all time. In 1954 he finished Lviv Music College. He continued his education at the Kiev Conservatory (1954-1957) and from 1957 to 1960 he performed at the Kiev Opera. In the 1960-1963 seasons he appeared at the Lviv Opera. From 1963 to 1978 he was a soloist of the Minsk Opera and gave many concerts with Minsk Philarmonic (1978-1984). his repertoire included Don Jose (‘’Carmen’’), Radames (‘’Aida’’), Canio (‘’Pagliacci’’), Pincerton (‘’Madama Batterfly’’), Cavaradossi (‘’Tosca’’), Manrico (‘’Il Trovatore’’), Rodolfo (‘’La Boheme’’), The Duke (‘’Rigoletto’’), Otello, Hermann (‘’Queen of Spades’’).

Chronology of some appearances

1957-1960 Kiev Opera
1960-1963 Lviv Opera
1963-1978 Minsk Opera

Mar 10, 2018

David Handerson (Tenor)

Chronology of some appearances

1900-1901 Brussels Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie
1906 Ferrara  Teatro Comunale Mefistofele (Faust)
1906 Venezia  Teatro Rossini Mefistofele (Faust)
1906 Rovereto Teatro Sociale Otello (Otello)
1907 Lisbona Teatro San Carlo Otello (Otello)
1907 Lisbona Teatro San Carlo Ugonotti (Raoul)
1907 Valencia Teatro Principal Otello (Otello)
1908 Ancona  Teatro delle Muse Ugonotti (Raoul)
1914 Toronto  Royal Alexandra Trovatore (Manrico)

Guy Fouché (Ténor) (Bordeaux, France 17 June 1921 - Annecy, France 28 May 1998)

He graduated from the Conservatoire de chant de Bordeaux with the first prize of Opéra and Opéra-comique and began his career at the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux in 1942 in Georges Bizet's ‘’Les Pêcheurs de perles’’. He also won a second prize at the Conservatoire de Paris in 1943. From 1945 to 1953 he performed at the provincial opera houses (Toulouse, Marseille, Lyon, Lille, Nantes, Rennes and Bordeaux). In 1953 he appeared in Oran. From 1954 to 1956 he was a member of the troupe of the Opéra royal de Wallonie in Liège before being for six seasons the first tenor of La Monnaie in Brussels. Back in Oran he sang the title role of Faust opposite Henri Rivière and Adrien Legros. In 1961 he moved to Toulon, where two years later he retired from the stage.

Chronology of some appearances

1942-1945 Bordeaux Grand Théâtre
1945-1953 Tulouse, Marseille, Lyon, Lille, Nantes, Rennes and Bordeaux
1954-1956 Liège Opéra royal de Wallonie
1956-1962 Brussels Monnaie
1961-1963 Toulon Opera

Mar 9, 2018

Eugenia Mantelli (Florence, Italy 1860 – Lisbon, Portugal 3 March 1926)

She studied at the Milan Conservatory and made her debut in 1883 at the Teatro San Carlo in Lisbon as Urbain in G. Meyerbeer’s ‘’Huguenots’’. The same year she made guest appearances in Italy, where first she sang in Treviso as Kaled in J. Massenet’s ‘’Le Roi de Lahore’’. Successful tours followed together with legendary Spanish tenor Julián Gayarre in Germany, Italy and South America. In 1889 she appeared opposite Mattia Battistini in Buenos Aires. In 1894 she sang as a partner of Francesco Tamagno in Moscow. In 1896 she performed at the Covent Garden in London as Brünnhilde in ‘’Walküre’’ (still in French) In the 1894-1900 seasons she was a member of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Here she made her debut in 1894 as Amneris in ‘’Aida’’. Here her repertoire included Azucena in ‘’Trovatore’’, Emilia in ‘’Otello’’, Ortrud in ‘’Lohengrin’’, Maddalena in ‘’Rigoletto’’, Lola in ‘’Cavalleria Rusticana’’, Fides in ‘’Le prophète’’, Leonora in ‘’La Favorita’’, Nancy in ‘’Martha’’, the Queen in ‘’Hamlet’’, the Queen Guinevere in ‘’Elaine’’ of Herman Bemberg (première, 1894) and Dalila in ‘’Samson et Dalila’’. In 1902 she appeared at the Manhattan Opera House in New York in the title role in P. Mascagni’s ‘’Zanetto’’. In the 1902-1903 season she was engaged again by the Metropolitan Opera, in the 1903-1904 season she went on a tour in USA tour with her own opera troupe, in the 1904-1905 season she appeared in New York in operetta performances. Since 1905 she lived in Lisbon. she guested in 1908 at the Teatro Politeama in Genoa as Carmen. In 1910 she appeared on the stage for the last time in Lisbon. She made recordings for Bettini cylinders (1899) and then for USA Zonophone (1905-1907).

Chronology of some appearances

1883 Lisbon Teatro San Carlo Huguenots (Urbain)
1883 Treviso Opera Le Roi de Lahore (Kaled)
1896 London Covent Garden Walküre (Brünnhilde)
1894-1900 New York Metropolitan Opera Aida (Amneris/Debut)
1902 New York Manhattan Opera House Zanetto (Silvia)
1902-1903 New York Metropolitan Opera
1908 Genoa Teatro Politeama Carmen (Carmen)

Roberto Silva (Bass)


He began his career during the 1930’s in Italy, however, emigrated before the World War II to North America. Since 1944 he became a member of the New York New Opera Company and City Centre Opera. In the 1941-1948 seasons he made guest appearances at the Opera Philadelphia  and Chicago Opera, since 1943 also at the San Francisco Opera. He also sang at Opera National de México. In 1941 he sang at La Scala the part of King in G. Verdi’s ‘’Aida’’ and guested again in 1952 and 1953. His repertoire included Mefistofele in ‘’Faust’’, Basilio  in ‘’Barbiere di Siviglia’’, Fiesco in ‘’Simon Boccanegra’’, Colline in ‘’Boheme’’, Pistol in ‘’Falstaff’’ and Alvise in ‘’La Gioconda’’.

Chronology of some appearances

1941 Milano La Scala
1941-1948 Opera Philadelphia/Chicago Opera
1943 San Francisco Opera
1944 New York New Opera Company
1944 New York City Centre Opera

Mar 8, 2018

Giulio Perotti (Tenor) (Ueckermünde, Germany 13. March 1841 – Milan, Italy 28 February 1901)


His real name was Julius Prott. First he studied at the Stern'sche Konservatorium in Berlin, then he continued his education under Pietro Romani in Florence. Additionally he trained with Francesco Lamperti in Milan, Corsi and Deck-Servani and Gustave Roger in Paris. In 1863 he made his debut at the Opera House in Wroclaw. He made successful guest appearances in Germany, Italy, also in London, Madrid, Moscow and Constantinople. In 1870 at the Drury Lane Theatre in London he sang the part of Erik in the English première of R. Wagner’s ‘’Fliegender Holländer’’. In 1872 he appeared at La Scala as Max in ‘’Freischütz’’. Several times he visited North America, where he sang  at the operatic stages in Boston, Chicago, New York and in many other towns. In the 1888-1890 and from 1899 to 1900 seasons he was engaged by the New York Metropolitan Opera. In South America he was to be heard among other things in Buenos Aires and Montevideo. In the 1866-1868 seasons he was a member of the Hofoper in Wien. In the 1878-1888 and again from 1892 to 1900 seasons he belonged to the ensemble of the State Opera House in Budapest, where he and retired from the stage. His best roles were Raoul in ‘’Huguenots’’,  Johann von Leiden in ‘’Le prophète’’, Arnoldo in ‘’Guglielmo Tell’’, Eleazar in ‘’La Juive’’, Faust, Manrico in ‘’Trovatore’’, Otello and also Wagner repertoire (Lohengrin, Tannhäuser, Rienzi, Siegfried). Since 1879 he owned in Trieste a market garden, which was internationally known for his rose cultures. He made a few recordings for Bettini cylinders.

Chronology of some appearances

1863 Wroclaw Opera House
1866-1868 Wien Hofoper
1870 London Drury Lane Theatre
1872 Milano La Scala
1878-1888 Budapest State Opera House
1888-1890 New York Metropolitan Opera
1892-1900 Budapest State Opera House
1899-1900 New York Metropolitan Opera

Ebba Wilton (Soprano) (1896, 13/12, Rødvig - 1951, 1/4, København)

She was one of the best Danish sopranos of her time. Since 1915 she was a pupil of Paul Bank in Copenhagen, since 1919 she studied singing at the Royal Opera School in Copenhagen. From 1924 to 1949 she was a highly respected member of the Royal Opera in Copenhagen. Here she made her debut as Queen of the Night in ‘’Zauberflöte’’. Her repertoire included Olympia in ‘’Les contes d'Hoffmann’’, Zerline in ‘’Don Giovanni’’, Gilda in ‘’Rigoletto’’, Marie in ‘’La fille du régiment’’, Susanna in ‘’Figaros Hochzeit’’ and Ännchen in ‘’Freischütz’’. She made guest appearances in Berlin, Paris and Riga. From 1924 to 1928 she made a lot of recordings for Danish HMV.

Chronology of some appearances

1924-1949 Copenhagen Royal Opera