Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tito Schipa--First posted Nov. 8, 2008

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the incomparable Tito Schipa (pron. skee-pah), singing the first verse of "Una furtiva lagrima":

Tito Schipa (27 December 1888 – 16 December 1965) was an Italian tenor. He is considered one of the finest tenore di grazia in operatic history. He was endowed with a natural, sensuous voice which he deployed with great intelligence and taste.

Schipa was born Raffaele Attilio Amedeo Schipa in Lecce, his birthday was recorded as January 2, 1889 for conscription purposes. He studied in Milan and made his operatic debut at age 21 in 1910 at Vercelli. He subsequently appeared throughout Italy and in Buenos Aires. In 1917, he created the role of Ruggiero in Puccini's La rondine.

In 1919, Schipa traveled to the United States, joining the Chicago Opera Company, singing with it until 1932, whereupon he appeared with the Metropolitan Opera from 1932 to 1935 and again in 1941. From 1929 to 1949, he continued to perform regularly in Italy, and returned to Buenos Aires in 1954. In 1957, he toured the USSR.

Schipa's repertoire eventually encompassed about twenty Italian and French opera roles, such as Massenet's Werther, Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore and Cilea's L'Arlesiana, where he achieved his best results. In concert, Schipa performed opera arias as well as Neapolitan and Spanish popular songs.

Schipa made numerous recordings during his career, including a famous recording of Donizetti's Don Pasquale in 1932, which was one of the first complete opera recordings, and is still in circulation.

Although some considered Schipa's voice to be ordinary in size and timbre, he caused riots in the streets on some occasions not only by his superior musicianship but a solid, masterful technique.

Schipa retired from the stage in 1958 to teach voice in Budapest and he died from diabetes in 1965 at the age of 77 in New York, NY while teaching there.

Bio from Wikipedia.

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