Pietro Mongini


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(b Rome, 1830; d Milan, 27 April 1874). Italian tenor. He started his career as a bass, but by 1853 was singing tenor roles at Genoa. In 1855 he made his Paris début at the Théâtre Italien as Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, and in 1857 sang at Reggio nell’Emilia in the first performance of Achille Peri's Vittor Pisani and in Gaetano Donizetti's Anna Bolena. He first appeared at La Scala in 1858 as Arnold in Guillaume Tell, and made his London début in 1859 as Elvino in La sonnambula at Drury Lane, where he also sang Arrigo in the first London performance of Giuseppe Verdi's Les vêpres siciliennes (in Italian). In 1860 he sang Manrico (Il trovatore) at La Scala and Huon in Carl Maria von Weber's Oberon at Her Majesty's Theatre. He returned to London every year from 1862 to 1873, appearing either at Her Majesty's, where his many roles included Don Alvaro in the first London performance of La forza del destino (1867), or at Covent Garden, where he made his début as Gennaro in Lucrezia Borgia (1868). On 24 December 1871 he created the role of Radamès in the first performance of Aida, at the Cairo Opera House. According to contemporary reports, his genuinely heroic tenor voice was not used with much subtlety or intelligence, but in such roles as Arnold, Manrico and Alvaro the sheer brilliance of sound and the excitement of his performances compensated for any lack of artistry.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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