V1638. ANTONIO PAOLI: Arias from Guillaume Tell, Le Cid, Les Huguenots, Robert le Diable, Le Prophète, La Gioconda, Déjanire, Iris, Poliuto, Andrea Chénier, Rigoletto, Il Trovatore & Otello – recorded 1907-11; Paoli, Huguet, Cigada, Badini, Gætano Pini-Corsi, etc.: PAGLIACCI (Supervised by the Composer), recorded 1907. (France) 2–Malibran 726. - 7600003777263
“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 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.
Gaetano PINI-CORSI, brother of the baritone, Antonio Pini-Corsi, sang for twenty seasons at the opera house in Catania and between 1892 and 1906 was regularly heard at La Scala. He sang many character parts including Mime in SIEGFRIED and Goro in the world premiere of MADAMA BUTTERFLY. He was still singing in 1932 but nothing could be discovered of his life beyond that. His recordings were for HMV in Milan.
Paoli was known at the height of his fame as ‘The King of Tenors and The Tenor of Kings’. He is considered to be the first Puerto Rican to reach international fame in the musical arts. Paoli has been recognized as ‘one of the most outstanding opera singers of all time’, and as one who had ‘one of the most lyric and powerful voices...superior even to his contemporary rival, Enrico Caruso’.
Paoli was also the first operatic artist to record an entire opera when he participated in a performance of PAGLIACCI in Milan, in 1907.
Paoli continued to perform around the world with performances in Greece, Palestine, Poland, Egypt, Spain and Italy, where he established his permanent residence. In 1910, the singer was signed as the First Tenor by La Scala, the most prestigious opera company in the world at the time. Paoli received a contract to inaugurate Teatro Colón, in Buenos Aires, where he sang Otello. He also performed in Russia, Poland, Egypt, Hungary, Belgium, Cuba, Chile, Haiti, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Canada, and the United States.
Ernesto BADINI sang mainly in Italy and South America and specialized, particularly later in his career, in buffo roles. He made many recordings and appeared in several complete operas other than PAGLIACCI including LA BOHEME, THE BARBER OF SEVILLE, and an electric recording of DON PASQUALE. He was the first Gianni Schicchi at both La Scala and Covent Garden.
Francesco CIGADA sang a very wide range of leading baritone roles from Wagner to Montemezzi, Puccini, and Rossini. He never appeared in the USA and recorded only for HMV in Milan (1905-1908). He gave up his career in 1924 after the death of his only child and retired to his hometown of Bergamo.
Giuseppina HUGUET was born in Barcelona and made her début there in 1889. She sang in London, Paris, Milan, and Russia. She appeared at the New York Academy of Music for one season in 1898. She retired in 1912 and taught in Barcelona. She made recordings for G & T in 1903 and for HMV in 1908.
- Loyal Bluto