V2024. Pasquale Amato, Vol. I: Arias & Duets (w.Zenatello & Salvatini) from Barbiere, La Traviata, Rigoletto, Ballo, Otello, Aïda, LAfricaine, La Gioconda, Zazà, Germania, Pagliacci & Hamlet. (Germany) Truesound Transfers 3077, recorded 1907-24, Fonotipia & Homocord. Transfers by Christian Zwarg.
"Amato's was a splendidly firm and ringing voice; in his best days the top, up to high A, made a great impression. On records it is almost impossible to confuse it with any other baritone, for there is a bell-like and plangent quality that is wholly individual....The Doge's romanza from Act One of I Due Foscari is a beautifully composed piece of cantabile singing, the high F's coming out just as Verdi ordered - dolce."
- Michael Scott, THE RECORD OF SINGING
"Stracciari made records to which one says at different times 'Fair', 'Good', 'Splendid', 'Excellent'. But there is also the cry of 'Great', and in my experience only one of the baritones now under discussion provokes that. This is Pasquale Amato."
- J.B. Steane, THE GRAND TRADITION, P.142
Amato was one of the outstanding baritones of his day, with the easy, almost tenor-like upper register that marks the successful Verdi baritone, and an exceptional legato line. He was also a powerful dramatic figure, effective in both comic and serious rôles. While best known for his performances in Italian opera, he also appeared in the Italian première of Debussy's PELLÉAS ET MÉLISANDE and sang such Wagner rôles as Kurwenal in TRISTAN UND ISOLDE and Gurnemanz in PARSIFAL.
He studied at the San Pietro a Majella conservatory in Naples and made his début at the Bellini Theater in 1900 as Germont in Verdi's LA TRAVIATA. In 1904, he débuted at Covent Garden as part of the San Carlo touring company. In 1908, he débuted, again as Germont, at the Metropolitan Opera, where he was soon established as a leading baritone. He sang there regularly until 1921. In 1910, he created the rôle of Jack Rance in Puccini's LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST, opposite Enrico Caruso, under Toscanini. In 1913, he was the first performer in the title rôle of Damrosch's CYRANO DE BERGERAC, and, two years later, created Napoleon in Giordano's comic opera MADAME SANS-GENE. In 1933, he retired from the stage, becoming the head of the vocal and opera department at the University of Louisiana in 1935. He taught there until his death in 1942.
- Anne Feeney, allmusic.com
Amato is one of the greatest Italian baritones of all time. You hear a splendidly firm baritone voice with a true ring in the upper register (up to high A). His voice is very individual, and it is almost impossible to confuse him with any other baritone. He sings with a smooth legato and perfect articulation. It is a truly thrilling voice.
Renatos Eri tu, Rigolettos Cortigiani and the Duet opposite Frieda Hempel, the Enzo-Barnaba Duet opposite Zenatello, the Figaro aria, his Jago, the truly exciting performance of the scene Amonasro-Aïda opposite Ester Mazzoleni, the Pagliacci Prologue - all these are classical performances and belong with the best baritone recordings ever made. He sings with an inimitable combination of Mattia Battistinis bel canto style and the heroic splendour of Titta Ruffo.
Pasquale Amato was born in Naples and studied with Benjamino Carelli and Vincenzo Lombardi (teacher of Fernando de Lucia) at the Conservatory San Pietro a Majella. He made his début at the Teatro Bellini in Naples at the age of 21, singing Germont père in LA TRAVIATA. His career began at this early time and he soon appeared in rôles such as Lescaut, Escamillo, Renato and Valentin. He sang at the Teatro Dal Verme in Milan, in Genoa, Salerno, Catania, Monte Carlo and appeared in Germany and Russia. He was extremely successful in Donizettis MARIA DE ROHAN and Leoncavallos ZAZÀ. In 1904 he appeared at Covent Garden for the first time. He also alternated with Victor Maurel and Mario Sammarco as Rigoletto, and sang again Escamillo and Marcel. He soon enjoyed huge success in South America and appeared there in all his roles. In 1907 he was celebrated at La Scala, where he sang Golaud in the Italian première of PELLÉAS ET MÉLISANDE. He added Kurwenal (opposite Salomea Kruszelnicka and Giuseppe Borgatti) and the rôles in Catalanis LA WALLY and LA GIOCONDA. In 1908 he was engaged at the Met. Here he sang frequently opposite Enrico Caruso, mainly in the Italian repertoire. His most successful rôles at the Met were di Luna, Carlos, Ashton, Tonio, Rigoletto and Amfortas. He created Jack Rance in Puccinis LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST in 1910, opposite Emmy Destinn, Enrico Caruso and Adamo Didur. His repertoire included about 70 rôles. He also appeared in various contemporary operas by Cilea, Giordano, Gianetti and Damrosch. From the beginning of his career he overused his wonderful voice. Vocal decline began in 1912 (he was 43 years old!) and from 1920 his career was relegated to appearances in provincial theatres and on tour with various companies. He spent the last years as professor of voice and opera at Louisiana University.
- Andrea Shum-Binder, subito-cantabile
[Truesound] transfers have been an absolute revelation to me
.Amazingly, Christian Zwarg has managed to unlock the sound of these recordings in such a way as to present [voices] such as I have never heard before. Here the sound has a sheen and glow which is quite beautiful. It is as if an old masterpiece painting has been cleaned and restored, allowing rays of brilliant light to emerge
- Davyd Booth, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2012