Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Galliano Masini

Bust of Galliano Masini, LivornoLast week, during a performance of Tosca, pandemonium broke loose in Chicago's Civic Opera House. Excited operagoers pounded the floor, stood on their seats and yelled frantic approval. Conductor Moranzoni tried to get the performance going again, was stopped by a gusty chorus of “boos”. For more than five minutes the demonstration continued. Finally the cause of it, a broad-shouldered, lusty-looking Italian tenor, Galliano Masini, repeated “E lucevan le stelle”. And the opera was allowed to go on.Portrait of Galliano MasiniSon of a Livornese macaroni maker, 34-year-old Masini worked once as a stevedore, then as a mechanic, was sent to Milan by admiring townsmen. He claims that he never took a singing lesson, that the Milanese taught him only repertory. He made a debut in Livorno (Tosca) in 1928 and has sung since at La Scala and other leading European opera-houses.Galliano Masini as Don José in CarmenChicago critics who had described Masini's U. S. debut in Lucia di Lammermoor last month, and subsequent appearances in La Gioconda and Tosca as “one long crescendo of excitement”, now spoke of him unhesitatingly as “another Caruso”. While Chicago music-lovers last week were congratulating each other on this sensation of the musical season, Tenor Masini was being watched by hawk-eyed impresarios from coast to coast.

(Quoted from Time, Dec. 13, 1937)

The bust is in the “Galliano Masini” park, just opposite the tenor's former house. The portrait and the picture as Don José in Carmen are from the book “Fulvio Venturi - L'opera lirica a Livorno. 1847-1999: dall'inaugurazione del Teatro Leopoldo al nuovo millennio”, published in Livorno by Debatte Otello srl.

Leoncavallo - Pagliacci: “Vesti la giubba
Leoncavallo - Pagliacci: “No, pagliaccio non son
Mascagni - Cavalleria rusticana: “Mamma, quel vino è generoso
Cilea - Adriana Lecouvreur: “La dolcissima effige
Puccini - Tosca: “E lucevan le stelle

15 comments:

Luis Gomez said...

Wonderful post VP! Thanks.

Dina said...

Local boy makes good, eh?
Thanks for the videos, what a wonderful way to start the morning.
What a voice, and such a handsome guy.
What a scene that must have been at Chicago's Civic Opera House! That is where I saw my first operas as a teenager!

cieldequimper said...

For a moment, I thought we had time-travelled! Fabulous post, I'll look at the videos tonight, I'm already late for work!

Francisca said...

I got goosebumps listening to E lucevan le stelle... what a voice!

Birdman said...

Quite a story. No wonder there is such a tribute to this 'voice'.

Cezar and Léia said...

hmmm how I'm very curious to know more about and see the music .
Wonderful post, really interesting!
Thanks a lot!
Léia

Small City Scenes said...

Excellent post. I grew up listening to Caruso records (my Mother was a fan) and maybe Masini too. Thanks for the links. MB

Kaori said...

He must of been quite the sensation back then! Great photos and article :D

JM said...

This is so very interesting, VP!

cieldequimper said...

Those sobs at 'e muoio disperato' and the final 'tanto la vita' of 'e lucevan le stelle' are a bit too much for me but I suppose that's what they did in those days. What a brilliant voice though, but I prefer Lauri-Volpi or Gigli. I've just discovered that Lauri-Volpi could still pull off 'nessun dorma' pretty well at age 80. Incredible. But... thanks for the discovery I made today. :-)

Have you seen - I mean listened to- this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1U7A4ll_fdE&NR=1
Until now I've always listened to Mario del Monaco and this is amazing...

cieldequimper said...

P.S.: this just gives me the kicks like nothing else does: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MXadL1HEpo&feature=related

VP said...

@ ciel - Thanks for the link of the video, I missed this!
I agree about the sobs in Tosca, my favorite Cavaradossi is still Franco Corelli (I'm a bit stuck in the past...).
La fille du régiment is amazing, try the one of Alfredo Kraus.

cieldequimper said...

Lol, what do you call listening to Lauri-Volpi and Gigli if Corelli means stayed stuck in the past?!!! :-)

VP said...

@ ciel - Good taste?

cieldequimper said...

Who knows?
Kraus is stunning too, I hadn't heard him in la fille. But... Pavarotti's 1973 performance, the high Cs to me are more crystal perfect. That young Juan Diego Florez sounds promising.