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Ernest Nicolini

(1834—1898)


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(b Saint Malo, 23 Feb 1834; d Pau, 19 Jan 1898). French tenor. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire and made his début (as Nicolas) in 1857 at the Opéra-Comique in Fromental Halévy's Les mousquetaires de la reine. After further study in Italy, he sang at La Scala in La traviata (1859), Gioachino Rossini's Otello (as Rodrigo), I Lombardi, Paolo Giorza's Corrado, console di Milano and La sonnambula (1860). From 1862 to 1869 he appeared at the Théâtre Italien, Paris, and he made his Covent Garden début (under the pseudonym Nicolini) in 1866, singing opposite Patti in Lucia di Lammermoor, but without great success. In 1871 he returned to London to sing in Faust and Robert le diable at Drury Lane, and from 1872 to 1884 he was engaged every season at Covent Garden. He appeared in many roles, including Pery in Carlos Gomes's Il guarany (1872), Lohengrin (1875), Radamès in Aida (1876) and Fabio in Jules Cohen's Estella (1880), all first London performances, and he sang Celio at the première of Charles Ferdinand Lenepveu's Velléda (1882). His voice had a wide vibrato that some of his contemporaries found distressing, but his fine stage presence and intense acting were particularly appreciated in such roles as Charles Gounod's Faust and Romeo. He accompanied Patti on tours of Europe (to Vienna, Milan, Brussels, Berlin, Hamburg and other cities), and of the USA and South America. In 1886 he became her second husband, and that year made his final stage appearance, as Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia at Drury Lane, though he continued to sing in concerts for some time.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.


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