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Tamagno (tenor) was born in Turin in 1850. After singing in the
choir, and also a few minor roles, at the Teatro Regio in Turin he
sang his first major role in Palermo in 1874 (Riccardo in Verdi's
Un Ballo in Maschera). His international debut was at
Barcelona in 1875, and he subsequently made many appearances at La
Scala, Milan and at other Italian theatres. He was chosen (over
Verdi's objections) to create the role of Otello in 1887,
which paved the way for an international career: he sang Otello in
London, Chicago, New York and many other countries.
His voice was was powerful and well-toned, though he had little
acting ability and, particularly in his later years, a tendency to
sing loudly all the time (a flaw not unknown in some modern tenors).
He retired in 1904 and died the following year.
D'OTELLO ('Otello') (Verdi)
52674 recorded 1903 (2MB)
Not to get over-romantic, but consider what you are hearing: the
creator of one of the most famous roles in opera, coming to us with
remarkable clarity and vividness across a hundred years. Though at
the end of his career, with the voice past its best, this is still a
gripping performance. The transfer has been made at the speed
indicated in the HMV catalogue, 74rpm: this brings it out a semitone
flat, which would be an expected transposition given the age of the
performer (and certainly any higher sounds wrong). Incidentally, the
1914 catalogue prices this record at £1 - no small sum of money
at the time. Click here to see the label
- a yellow-green reserved for the top celebrities.