V1010. ANTONIO PAOLI: Arias from Otello, Il Profeta, Gli Ugonotti, Roberto il Diavolo, Il Cid, Aïda, Rigoletto, Il Trovatore, Samson et Dalila, Pagliacci & Andrea Chénier; 'Madamiglia de Belle Isle: Si, io t'amo' (Samara); Paoli's spoken message to Puerto Rican Youth, 1945. (Austria) Preiser 89998, recorded 1907-11. Long out-of-print, Final Rare Sealed Copy! - 717281899987
“Judging from remarks by colleagues who heard him, Paoli must have been the great dramatic tenor of his era. ‘Paoli was one of the greatest dramatic tenors in the world of his time – and of this time, too’ (Lázaro). ‘Paoli was one of the greatest singing actors I have ever seen in my life’ (Piccaluga). [After ‘O Paradiso’ in l’AFRICANA] ‘sounded the most stupendous ovation I have heard in my fifty years [as a chorister] at La Scala’ [Enrico Neni]. ‘I sang with Paoli several times. His high notes...sounded so loud that to sing with him you had to know the music well, as otherwise you had no chance to hear the orchestra’ [Manfredo Polverosi]. ‘Let me tell you that during my long life I have not heard a better Otello than his, and believe me I have heard a lot of Otellos’ (Elvira de Hidalgo).”
- Jesus M. López, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, Vol. XXII, Nos. 1-2
“Antonio Paoli was known in his day as ‘the king of tenors’ and the first Puerto Rican to reach international fame in the arts in 1897. He débuted in Rossini’s WILLIAM TELL, in Paris, in 1899. By 1900, his performances had paved the way for a concert appearance at Covent Garden in London. In 1901, Paoli embarked on an international concert tour where, once again, he garnered the broad acclaim of the opera critics. Paoli was the first opera artist in the world to record an entire opera: Leoncavallo’s PAGLIACCI in 1907. It was the beginning of a highly successful career as a recording artist, giving him and his native Puerto Rico, world-wide recognition. Only three years later, Paoli was appointed first tenor at La Scala. In 1912, he again sang in LOHENGRIN in Vienna and received a standing ovation from none other than the Austro-Hungarian Emperor, Franz Joseph. With the advent of the Great War, Paoli left Europe for Puerto Rico.
While many maintain that Paoli and Caruso were friends, their rivalry was clearly evident in Paris when Paoli was picked over Caruso for appointment to the Paris Opéra, due in part to Paoli’s high physical stature and stage presence. Paoli quickly learned to speak French and was highly successful in Paris.
Although his success on stage and through recordings brought him substantial income, Paoli’s largesse during World War I and poor investments ruined him financially. Paoli was compelled to extraordinary measures to raise enough capital for a return trip to Europe: the stately opera singer became a prize fighter. In 1922 he started teaching voice in his native Puerto Rico, establishing a school together with his sister Amalia. His lot improved and he even helped produce the OTELLO at the Municipal Theater in San Juan shortly thereafter. Following the success of his music school in Puerto Rico, he pursued the establishment of music conservatory. Despite his tireless efforts in that campaign, he never saw the realization of that dream during his lifetime. Despite this, and in recognition of his fame and talent, the government of Puerto Rico awarded him a pension in 1934, and a year later, named the Municipal Theater in his honor. Paoli died 24 August, 1946. The music conservatory for which he had lobbied so was founded in the next decade; a testament to the artist’s ample accomplishments.
Antonio PAOLI was born in Puerto Rico, studied in Spain, and made his operatic début in Bari in 1895. In 1902-1903 he belonged to an opera troupe assembled by Mascagni that toured the USA and Canada. He frequently toured South America and in 1920 spent a season in Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia. He eventually returned to Puerto Rico to teach. His only recordings were for HMV in Milan.”
- Ned Ludd