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(b Porto Empedocle, Sicily, 9 March 1894; d Milan, 10 Dec 1959). Italian baritone. He was trained first as a pianist and discovered his voice while working as a répétiteur. In 1919 he made his début as Valentin in Faust at the Carcano, Milan, and then went on to sing with considerable success throughout Italy, at the Costanzi in Rome, the S Carlo in Naples (the first of many seasons in 1922, the last being 1948) and La Scala. He was enthusiastically received at his début in Pagliacci at Covent Garden in 1928, and returned there for the next two seasons and again in 1935. A highlight of his career in London was the 1930 Traviata with Ponselle and Gigli where his ‘steadiness of tone, flawless phrasing and ease of manner’ were commended as a model. He sang at Chicago in 1929, and later in France and Spain. In 1936 he appeared in the première of G.F. Malipiero's Giulio Cesare in Genoa. He continued to prove his worth as a musicianly singer (he was also a composer of opera, ballet and songs) until his retirement in 1953, after which he taught singing in Milan. Recordings show the fine voice and authoritative style that distinguished him in the 1920s; when he returned to the studios after the war, his style had deteriorated, though his tone remained impressive.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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