Italo Campanini


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(b Parma, 30 June 1845; d Corcagno, nr Parma, 22 Nov 1896). Italian tenor. He studied at the Regia Scuola di Canto in Parma, making his début there in 1863 as Oloferno Vitellozzo in Gaetano Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia. Engaged to sing Manrico in Il trovatore in Odessa, he stayed three years in Russia, returning to Italy for further study with Francesco Lamperti in Milan. In 1871, after singing Charles Gounod's Faust, Don Ottavio and Gennaro (Lucrezia Borgia) at La Scala, he attracted wide attention when he sang Lohengrin at Bologna under Angelo Mariani, in the first Italian performance of Richard Wagner's opera. At La Scala he also sang the title roles of Filippo Marchetti's Ruy Blas and Lohengrin (1872–3). Having made his London début in 1872 at Drury Lane as Gennaro, in 1874 he sang Kenneth in the première of Michael Balfe's Il talismano. In 1875 he sang Faust in Mefistofele in the first performance of the revised edition of Arrigo Boito's opera at Bologna, and in 1878 Don José in the London (Her Majesty's Theatre) and New York (Academy of Music) premières of Carmen. Having sung Gounod's Faust at the opening of the Metropolitan in 1883, he returned (1891–4) as Almaviva, Don Ottavio, Raoul (Les Huguenots), Lohengrin, Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor) and Boito's Faust. He sang the title role of Berlioz's La damnation de Faust at the Royal Albert Hall in 1894, the year he retired. His voice was reportedly neither large nor perfectly even, but was sweet, flexible, brilliant on top and used with intuitive musicality. He was the brother of the conductor Cleofonte Campanini and they made many appearances together.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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