Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

May 28, 2020

Licinio Francardi (Tenor) (Pitigliano December 13, 1920 – Roma March 31, 1994)

He was the third of four children, who was born into a family of barber. In 1939 he began his education at the school of Manfredo Polverosi, an excellent tenor and, at the time, director of the Experimental School of Singing and Dance at the Teatro dell'Opera in Roma and later with Beniamino Gigli, who was an enthusiastic about his vocal qualities and became his protector and friend.  In 1948 he was presented by Gigli himself on the radio with this statement: "authentic golden voice, a voice where you hear not only a beautiful sound but, above all, a soul". In 1949 he took part in "Viotti" International Singing Competition and was the winner. On 11 August 1949 he made his debut as Elvino in "Sonnambula" by Vincenzo Bellini at the Teatro Lirico Sperimentale in Spoleto and on November 3 at the Teatro “Morlacchi” in Perugia as Nemorino in G. Donizetti’s "Elisir d'amore". In 1950 he won the International Singing Competition in Spoleto. Then he appeared in "Sonnambula" and "Puritani" at the major Roman theaters: Teatro dell’Opera, Teatro Argentina, Teatro Costanzi, sharing the scene with singers of the first orders such as the bass Boris Christoff and the soprano Margherita Carosio under the direction of Vincenzo Bellezza and Gianandrea Gavazzeni. He added to his repertoire also "Favorita", "Werther", "Manon Lescaut", "Boheme", "Tosca" and "Il Signor Bruschino" by G. Rossini. In 1953, still on the recommendation of Beniamino Gigli, he signed the contract with CETRA for the recording of operatic arias with the Lyric Orchestra conducted by Arturo Basile. In the 1950-1954 seasons he appeared at the Teatro dell'Opera in Roma, at the Teatro “Pergolesi” in Jesi and other minor performances as well as concerts for various institutions including National Academy of Santa Cecilia in Roma. At the same time and until 1957 he participated in the radio lyric seasons of RAI ("Monte Ivnor" by L. Rocca, "Morte dell'Aria" by Goffredo Petrassi, "Luisa" by Gustave Charpentier, "Antigone" by Lino Liviabella, " From the House of the Dead " by Leos Janacek). Starting in the 60s, he decided to devote himself almost entirely to teaching. From 1973 to 1982 he taught singing in Tampere (Finland). In 1975 he was invited again as vocal pedagogue at the Tokyo College of Music and at the Showa College of Music in Tokyo (Japan). In 1978, at the height of his artistic maturity, his last solo concert was held at Tokyo's Aoyama Tower Hall. On October 1, 1988 he received In Roma, along with other famous Italian opera singers, the award organized by the OIPEC (International Organization for Economic and Cultural Programming) - "Targa d'Oro - Tribute to Beniamino Gigli" at the Sala Borromini and on January 21, 1989 the "Tito Schipa" award (OIPEC) at the Sala della Protomoteca in Campidoglio. He died suddenly in Roma on March 31, 1994.

Ermanno Lorenzi (Tenor)

He made guest appearances at the Vienna State Opera, at the Teatro alla Scala and sang in many other major Italian opera houses and also at the Metropolitan in New York. Here he made hius debut as Cassio in ‘’Otello’’. He was famous as an interpreter of comprimario roles and appeared in parts such as Goro in ‘’Madama Butterfly’’, Pang in ‘’Turandot’’ and Beppe in ‘’Pagliacci’’.

Chronology of some appearances

1965-1966 Lisbon, Portugal (S. Carlos)
1965-1966 Venezia, Italy (La Fenici)     
1968 Genova, Italy (E. A. Comunale dell'Opera)            
1970 Genova, Italy (Comunale dell'Opera)       
1972 Genova, Italy (E .A. Comunale dell'Opera)            
1974 Genova, Italy (E. A. Comunale dell'Opera)            
1975 Genova, Italy (E. A. Comunale dell'Opera)            
1978 Genova, Italy (E. A. Comunale dell'Opera)

Miroslav Staryckyj (Tenor) (also known as Miroslav Grygorovich Skala-sStaryckyj; alias Miro Skala) (Skala-Podilska, now Borshchiv district of Ternopil region, Ukraine June 13, 1909 - Epine, Suburb of Paris, France February 17, 1969)

He studied in high schools in the cities of Stanislav (now Ivano-Frankivsk) and Lviv. Then he graduated from the Higher Music Institute. M. Lysenko (1939) and the Ukrainian State Conservatory (1941) in Lviv and the Vienna Music Academy (1942). He worked as a soloist at the Ukrainian National Theater named after Ivan Tobilevich, from 1939 to 1941 he was a soloist of the Lviv Radio. He performed his first roles at the Lviv Opera House. He appeared in the cities of Lviv (1941-1942), Kaiserslautern (1943-1944), Vienna (Folksoper, 1945-1947), Madrid (1948), Barcelona (Gran teatro del Liceo, 1948-1949), Paris (Opera Comique, 1949), Lille (1949), Bordeaux (1949, 1950), Zurich (1950), Brussels (Theater Royal de La Monnaie, 1953-1963), San Francisco (1959). From 1940 to 1960 he appeared in solo concerts in Berlin, Munich, Prague, Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Paris, New York, Detroit, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Chicago), Vancouver, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Edinburgh, Leicester, London, Manchester, Nottingham, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. In 1963 he organized his own music and drama studio, where he taught singing to Ukrainians. He is active in the public-art life of Ukrainian emigration. Miroslav Staryckyj was married to soprano Eugene Lasovskaya.

May 16, 2020

Johanna Gadski (Soprano) (Anklam, Prussia 15 June 1872 – Berlin, Germany 22 February 1932)

Johanna Emilia Agnes Gadski. She was blessed with a secure, powerful, ringing voice, fine musicianship and an excellent technique. These attributes enabled her to enjoy a top-flight career in New York City and London, performing heavy dramatic roles in the German and Italian repertoires. She made her debut at the Kroll Opera in Berlin (1894), Covent Garden (1898), Metropolitan Opera (1900), Munich (1905), Salzburg (1917); became leader of Wagnerian touring company (1920s). Johanna Gadski was one of the first Victor Red Seal artists and made almost 100 recordings during her career. Singing in Germany between 1889 and 1895, she debuted at age 17 in Lortzing's Undine at the Kroll Opera in Berlin. When she joined New York's Metropolitan Opera in 1900, she became one of the company's leading Wagnerian sopranos although she performed Mozart and Mahler ably as well. Also a recitalist, Gadski was one of the few to include songs by American composers on her program. An extremely popular recitalist, Gadski was much loved by audiences but fared less well with critics who complained that her pitch varied, her interpretation was flawed, and that she had a limited emotional range. Numerous recordings, however, demonstrate that she had a large voice with a pure tone. Her recordings, in fact, are considered classics. Gadski was forced to discontinue her American career during World War I due to anti-German sentiment, but she returned as a popular performer after the Armistice. She formed her own Wagnerian touring company in the 1920s which performed in Europe and the United States. Johanna Gadski died in an auto accident on February 22, 1932. Records kept her voice alive, giving Gadski a much deserved reputation—far greater than the one she enjoyed in her lifetime.

Paolo Silveri (Baritone) (Ofena, 28 December 1913 – Rome, 3 July 2001)

He began his education with Perugini in Milan, then studied singing under Riccardo Stracciari at the Conservatorio Santa Cecilia. He made his debut in 1939 at the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma as Hans Schwarz in R. Wagner’s ‘’I Maestri cantori di Norimberga’’. His real debut was happened as baritone in 1944 at the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma as Germont in ‘’La Traviata’’.

Chronology of some appearances

1939 Roma Teatro dell'Opera I maestri cantori di Norimberga (Hans Schwarz)
1940 Roma Teatro dell'Opera Guglielmo Tell (Melchtal)
1940 Roma Teatro dell'Opera Conchita  (Tonio/Sereno)
1941 Roma Teatro dell'Opera Siberia (governatore)
1942 Roma Teatro dell'Opera Orsèolo (vecchio senatore/3°servo)
1943 Roma Teatro dell'Opera Khovanshcina (2°strelez/pastore)
1944 Roma Teatro dell'Opera La Traviata (Germont)
1945 Roma Teatro dell'Opera Falstaff (Ford)
1949 Milano La Scala Trovatore (count di Luna)
1949 Genova Teatro Carlo Felice Il candeliere (presidente)
1949 Milano La Scala Favorita (Alfonso)
1950 Milano La Scala I Puritani (Sir Riccardo-Richard Forth)
1953 Firenze Teatro Comunale Trovatore (conte di Luna)
1953 Roma Teatro dell'Opera Otello (Jago)
1955 Roma Teatro dell'Opera Il principe Igor (Igor)
1956 Parma Teatro Regio Otello (Jago)
1956 Roma Teatro dell'Opera La fiamma (Basilio)
1968 Budapest Hungarian State Opera House Rigoletto (Rigoletto)

Paul Cabanel (Baritone) (29 June 1891, Orán - 05 November 1958, Paris)

First he studied law in Toulouse, but in 1911 he began training his voice at the Conservatory there. He continued this training at the National Conservatory in Paris, but he was drafted as a soldier upon the outbreak of World War I and was wounded at Verdun. He wasn't able to resume his studies until 1919. He made his debut at the Cairo Opera in J. Massenet's ‘’Hérodiade’’, where he also sang in ‘’Manon’’ and ‘’Thaïs’’ as well as in C. Gounod's ‘’Faust’’. Until 1932 he appeared at the French provincial houses, in Belgium and in Switzerland; for seven years he sang every winter at the Bordeaux Opera and in summer at the Vichy Theatre. Finally in 1932 he was able to make his debut as Scarpia in ‘’Tosca’’ at the Opéra-Comique in Paris, and in the following year at the Grand Opéra in ‘’La damnation de Faust’’ by H. Berlioz. After that he had great success at the Grand Opéra as well as at the Opéra-Comique in Paris. His signature roles included Mephisto in ‘’La damnation de Faust’’, Leporello in ‘’Don Giovanni’’, the High Priest in ‘’Samson et Dalila’’ and Arkel in ‘’Pelléas et Mélisande’’. He is said to have sung the role of Mephistopheles in C. Gounod's ‘’Faust’’ more than a thousand times. Guest appearances led him to the Teatro Colón Buenos Aires (1939) and to the opera of Rio de Janeiro, to the Teatro Liceo Barcelona, to Amsterdam and above all at the Brussels Opera (Théâtre de la Monnaie). Here he sang Boris Godunov as late as 1954. In 1952 he took part in a concert performance of ‘’La damnation de Faust’’ at the Holland Festival. He also worked as an opera director. From 1942 to 1958 he held the rank of professor at the National Conservatory in Paris.

Baptist Hoffmann (Baritone) (Garitz 1864 - Garitz 1937)

He studied singing under Louise Weinlich-Tipka in Munich and with Julius Stockhausen inFrankfurt a. M.. He made his debut in 1888 at the Stadttheater in Graz as hunter in "Nachtlager von Granada" by C. Kreutzer. In the 1888-1894 seasons he sang at the Opernhaus in Cologne, then in the 1894-1897 seasons appeared at the Stadttheater in Hamburg. In 1897 he was engaged by the Hofoper  in Berlin and performed till 1919. Here he sang in the premiere of the operas ‘’Briseïs’’ of Emmanuel Chabrier (14. 1. 1899), ‘’Regina’’ of Albert Lortzing (21. 3. 1899), ‘’Cain’’ by E. d'Albert (17. 9. 1900), "Heilmar, der Narr" by W. Kienzl (28. 1. 1902), "Der Wald"  by Mrs Ethel Smyth (9. 4. 1902), "Der Roland von Berlin" by R. Leoncavallo (13. 12. 1904) and in E.Humperdinck’s  "Heirat wider Willen" by (14. 4. 1905). In 1906 he sang in the Berlin première of ‘’Salome’’ by R. Strauss. In 1911 he performed in the premiere of "Rosenkavalier". In 1907 sang the role of Sharpless in G. Puccini’s ‘’Madama Butterfly’’. He made guest appearances in Munich,Dresden, Hamburg, London and Brussels. His extensive repertoire included Nelusco in G. Meyerbeer’s ‘’Africaine’’, Lothario in ‘’Mignon’’ of A. Thomas, Papageno in "Zauberflöte", Wolfram in ‘’Tannhäuser’’, Telramund in ‘’Lohengrin’’, Pizarro in ‘’Fidelio’’. After end of his stage career he worked in Berlin as vocal pedagogue.

Harry Da Garmo (Baritone) (1887 - 1919)

He was the son of a Spaniard and an English woman. He came to Germany to study medicine, where his voice was discovered. He made his debut in 1910 at the Stadttheater (Opera House) in Hamburg, where he stayed until 1912. In the 1912-1914 seasons he sang at the City Theater in Lübeck and since then at the Court Theater in Wiesbaden. He made guest appearances at the major German opera houses, including the Berlin Court Opera in 1911 (as Wolfram in ‘’Tannhäuser’’), the opera houses in Frankfurt am Main and Cologne (1914). In 1914 he married the soprano Tilly de Garmo-Jonas. In the 1917-18 season he was committed to the Metropolitan Opera in New York, but the USA's entry into World War I prevented his appearance in New York. In 1919 he was engaged again by the Metropolitan Opera, but died a few days before the crossing.