Carlo Guasco


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(b Solero, Alessandria, 13 March 1813; d Solero, 13 Dec 1876). Italian tenor. He qualified as a surveyor, trained with an unknown teacher and, briefly, with Giacomo Panizza, and made his début at La Scala in 1837 as the Fisherman in Gioachino Rossini's Guillaume Tell, which was billed as ‘ Vallace’ for reasons of censorship. In 1841 he took part in the first performance of Federico Ricci's Corrado d'Altamura at La Scala. He went on to sing the lyric tenor parts of Vincenzo Bellini and Gaetano Donizetti, creating Riccardo, Count de Chalais in the latter's Maria di Rohan (1843, Vienna) and – in the same poetic vein – Oronte in Giuseppe Verdi's I Lombardi (1843, Milan). Only under protest did he undertake, in Venice (1844), the more forceful title role in Ernani, which Verdi till then could not cast satisfactorily; though hoarse several nights running, he succeeded well enough to go on to create Foresto in Attila (1846, Venice). His voice was said to be penetrating and incisive. Between 1844 and 1848 he sang several times in Madrid and St Petersburg, once in London, and at Nice and Marseilles. At Bergamo he sang Donizetti's Crispus (Fausta) and Percy (Anna Bolena). He retired in 1849 but sang again in Paris and Vienna in 1852–3; by then he was in vocal decline.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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