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Tito Gobbi
Tito Gobbi
(24 October 1913 – 5 March 1984) was an Italian operatic baritone with an international reputation. He made his operatic debut in Gubbio
Gubbio
in 1935 as Count Rodolfo in Bellini's La sonnambula
La sonnambula
and quickly appeared in Italy major opera houses. By the time he retired in 1979 he had acquired a repertoire of almost 100 operatic roles. They ranged from Mozart's mid-range baritone roles through Rossini's Barber through Donizetti and the standard Verdi
Verdi
and Puccini
Puccini
baritone roles to Alban Berg's Wozzeck. He had a worldwide career as operatic baritone, appearing in (or recording the singing role) for over 25 films and, from the mid-1960s onward, was the stage director for about ten different operas which were given close to 35 productions throughout Europe and North America, including a significant number in Chicago for the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Gobbi and Tilda had a daughter, Cecilia, who now runs the "Associazione Musicale Tito Gobbi", an organization devoted to preserving and celebrating the record of her father's contribution to opera. He was also the brother-in-law of one of his famous colleagues at Covent Garden, the Bulgarian-born bass, Boris Christoff. Gobbi retired in 1979 and died in Rome in 1984, aged 70.

Contents

1 Early life 2 Operatic career

2.1 Early years 2.2 Post World War II 2.3 Gobbi's career in films 2.4 Gobbi as stage director 2.5 Famous roles

3 Publications 4 Abridged discography 5 Selected filmography 6 References 7 External links

Early life[edit] Tito Gobbi
Tito Gobbi
was born in Bassano del Grappa. He began his studies in law at the University of Padua
University of Padua
and, during that time, his talent was discovered by a family friend, Baron Agostino Zanchetta, who suggested that he study singing. To do so, Gobbi moved to Rome in 1932 to study under Giulio Crimi, a well-known Italian tenor of a previous generation, who had sung in the first performances of Puccini's Il trittico as well as in Zandonai's Francesca da Rimini. [1] Accompanying Gobbi on the piano at his first audition was Tilde De Rensis, daughter of musicologist Raphael De Rensis. In 1937, she became his wife. Operatic career[edit] Early years[edit] After his 1935 debut in Gubbio
Gubbio
singing the role of Count Rodolfo in Vincenzo Bellini's La sonnambula, in 1937 he sang Germont in La traviata for the first time in Rome at Teatro Adriano. But working at La Scala
La Scala
in Milan for the 1935–1936 season as an understudy, gave him a breadth of experience and his first appearance there on stage was as the Herald in Ildebrando Pizzetti's Orsèolo. In 1942, he debuted at the house in the role of Belcore in Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore conducted by Tullio Serafin. It was under Serafin's guidance and direction that the young Gobbi prepared many roles, including some that would become crucial to his later career; these included Scarpia, Rigoletto, Simon Boccanegra. He also appeared at the Rome Opera
Rome Opera
from 1938 onward in stage productions such as singing the role of Sharpless in Madama Butterfly
Madama Butterfly
under conductor Victor de Sabata. Other significant Italian venues in these pre-war years included La Fenice in Venice where, in 1941 he appeared as Marcello in La bohème and in 1942 as Sharpless. At the Teatro Communale in Florence in 1941 he sang the role of Hidraot in Gluck's Armide, while at the Teatro Verdi
Verdi
in Trieste in 1942 and 1943 there were other performances, including those as the title character in L'Orfeo. In Rome in 1942 he performed his first Falstaff at La Scala
La Scala
under de Sabata and, in direct contrast, was the protagonist in Alban Berg's Wozzeck
Wozzeck
sung in November. These performances made him famous in the first Italian performances of Berg's opera.[2] He sang the role again later in Italy and in Vienna under Karl Böhm. During these years, Gobbi also kept busy working in films, some of which were filmed operas such as Cilea's L'arlesiana
L'arlesiana
with Licia Albanese in 1938. Post World War II[edit] Gobbi's international career blossomed after World War II, with appearances in 1948 at the San Francisco Opera. He performed for the first time at London's Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in 1950 and sang with the Lyric Opera of Chicago
Lyric Opera of Chicago
from 1954 until 1974. He made his Metropolitan Opera
Metropolitan Opera
debut in 1956 as Scarpia in Tosca. The year 1974 also saw the last of Gobbi's numerous appearances at Covent Garden, where he had been much admired by the public and critics alike for his sensitive musicianship as well as for his acting talent and interpretive insights. There was, however, one incident in his relationship with Covent Garden which caused a stir. In 1955 he had been engaged as Iago in a major new production of Verdi's Otello
Otello
but was delayed in reaching the theatre for rehearsal. The new music director, Rafael Kubelík, determined to impose discipline on singers, sacked him. The company baritone Otakar Kraus, already scheduled to sing some performances, took on all of them. However, a few weeks later Gobbi and Kubelik met at a party and Kubelik made an unqualified apology. The general feeling was that Kubelik was right in principle as some star singers were often reluctant to rehearse, but chose the wrong singer and circumstances, as few were more professional than Gobbi. He was back at Covent Garden as Rigoletto
Rigoletto
the following summer. Gobbi's career in films[edit] Early in his career he appeared in a number of motion pictures between 1937 and 1959, [3][4] including some filmed operas such as The Barber of Seville (in 1946 starring Ferruccio Tagliavini) as well a contemporary drama in 1946, Avanti a lui tremava tutta Roma (" Before Him All Rome Trembled") which featured Anna Magnani, the story of which "intertwines the actions of the underground movement in Rome in 1944 against the Germans by a group of opera performers who are part of the Italian resistance, with their presentation of Tosca."[5] There was also the popular 1949 British drama set in wartime Italy, The Glass Mountain, which made him known to a wide public. By the time of his death Gobbi had appeared in some 25 films, in both singing and speaking parts. Beginning in the 1940s, Gobbi provided the singing voice for Anthony Quinn
Anthony Quinn
as Alfio in the film Cavalleria rusticana (1953), as well as the voice of the title character in the 1957 film Rigoletto
Rigoletto
e la sua tragedia.[4] Gobbi as stage director[edit] During the 1960s, Gobbi diversified into stage directing, a notable example being the December 1965 production of Verdi's Simon Boccanegra at Covent Garden, which was intended to be his first, but which he staged for Chicago a short while before.[6] In addition, he sang the title role in each of three productions he directed, the last being in Rome in 1975. It has been observed that Gobbi's evident love of the opera "both on stage and on disc...was one of his most towering achievements".[6] Overall, between 1965 and 1982, he directed productions of about ten different operas, the largest number of which were of Tosca. Others included The Barber of Seville
The Barber of Seville
(presented three times in Chicago between 1969 and 1977); Otello
Otello
(with three productions in Pasadena, California (1966), Chicago (1966), and Thessalonika, Greece in 1978); and Gianni Schicchi
Gianni Schicchi
(given in Florence and at the Edinburgh Festival in 1969; at the Chicago Lyric in 1970; and in Zurich (1974) and Monaco in 1982). The ten operas were staged for a total of nearly forty times by opera companies in Europe and North America, most notably in America for the Lyric Opera of Chicago
Lyric Opera of Chicago
for which he directed nine of the ten.[7] Famous roles[edit]

Tito Gobbi
Tito Gobbi
as Scarpia in Puccini's Tosca, 1954

According to Gobbi, he sang the part of Scarpia in Puccini's Tosca "nearly a thousand times".[8] One significant production was the "event of worldwide interest" (as Gobbi himself describes it),[9] Franco Zeffirelli's production of Tosca
Tosca
at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in London in February 1964. In a return to that house, Soprano
Soprano
Maria Callas
Maria Callas
sang the title role, conducted by Carlo Felice Cillario. Act 2 of the production was broadcast live on British television on 9 February 1964[10] in what must be one of the most acclaimed dramatic interpretations[who?] of all recorded operatic repertoire. It is now preserved on DVD. Gobbi and Callas had previously sung Tosca
Tosca
together in a classic 1953 EMI
EMI
recording of the opera made in Milan, with Giuseppe Di Stefano
Giuseppe Di Stefano
as Cavaradossi and Victor de Sabata
Victor de Sabata
conducting. That 1953 album was re-issued on long-playing gramophone record and, later, on CD. It is considered by many[who?] to be the finest recording of a complete opera ever made. It went out of print only once, after Callas recorded the role again in stereo in 1964; but the 1953 mono version was soon re-released and is the one that remains readily available to this day. Gobbi was a close friend, collaborator, and admirer of Callas, and he was interviewed several times about their various stage collaborations, noting in his book that "with Maria it was not performing but living".[9] He was also famous for his many performances in the roles of Iago and Falstaff, several of which are available on CD. Less well-known but equally impressive are his performances of Mozart
Mozart
roles, in particular the title role in Don Giovanni[11] and the role of the Count in The Marriage of Figaro.[12] In 1968 he participated in the first opera telecast in Australia (Tosca, with Marie Collier in the title role and Donald Smith as Cavaradossi).[13] Publications[edit] In retirement, Gobbi turned to writing and produced two books, the first of which, Tito Gobbi: My Life, was his autobiography. With this he was helped by the ghost-writer Ida Cook; it appeared in 1979.[14] Five years later, he wrote Tito Gobbi
Tito Gobbi
and His World of Italian Opera in which he examined many of the operas in which he either performed or which he directed (or both) and provided background information on them and their composers as well as discussing the productions themselves. In the case of Tosca, he devotes a chapter in Tito Gobbi
Tito Gobbi
and His World of Italian Opera to an analytical examination of each character in the opera (even the minor ones) and, for Scarpia, whom he states "I can fairly claim to know pretty well.."[15] he devotes three pages to a detailed examination of the character as Gobbi has observed and played him over many years.[16] Abridged discography[edit]

Berg: Wozzeck
Wozzeck
(Dow, Munteanu, Tajo, Picchi; Sanzogno, 1954) Myto Donizetti: L'elisir d'amore
L'elisir d'amore
(Carosio, Monti; Santini, 1952) EMI Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor
Lucia di Lammermoor
(Callas, Di Stefano; Serafin, 1953) EMI Giordano: Fedora (Olivero, Del Monaco; Gardelli, 1969) Decca Records Leoncavallo: Pagliacci
Pagliacci
(Callas, Di Stefano; Serafin, 1954) EMI Leoncavallo: Pagliacci
Pagliacci
(Amara, Corelli; Matačić, 1960) EMI Franco Leoni: L'oracolo (Sutherland, Tourangeau; Bonynge, 1975) Decca Records Mascagni: Cavalleria rusticana
Cavalleria rusticana
(Souliotis, Del Monaco; Varviso, 1966) Decca Records Mozart: Don Giovanni
Don Giovanni
(Welitsch, Schwarzkopf, Kunz, Seefried, Greindl; Furtwängler, 1950) Archipel Mozart: The Marriage of Figaro
The Marriage of Figaro
A live performance from Covent Garden, 1963, conducted by Georg Solti. Gobbi plays the Count. Published by operadepot.com. Puccini: La bohème
La bohème
(Scotto, Poggi; Votto, 1961) Deutsche Grammophon Puccini: Gianni Schicchi
Gianni Schicchi
(de los Ángeles, del Monte; Santini, 1958) EMI Puccini: Gianni Schicchi
Gianni Schicchi
(Cotrubas, Domingo; Maazel, 1976) CBS/Sony Puccini: Madama Butterfly
Madama Butterfly
(de los Ángeles, Di Stefano; Gavazzeni, 1954) EMI Puccini: La Fanciulla del West
La Fanciulla del West
(Corelli, Frazzoni,Ricciardi; Votto 1956) IMD Puccini: Il tabarro
Il tabarro
(Mas, Prandelli; Bellezza, 1955) EMI Puccini: Tosca
Tosca
(Callas, Di Stefano; de Sabata, 1953) EMI Puccini: Tosca, Act 2. Live video recording at the Royal Opera House, London, 1964 Puccini: Tosca
Tosca
(Callas, Bergonzi; Prêtre, 1964) EMI Puccini: Le Villi
Le Villi
(Scotto, Domingo, Nucci; Maazel, 1979) CBS/Sony Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia (Callas, Alva; Galliera, 1957) EMI Richard Strauss: Salome (Fiorenzo Tasso, Maria Benedetti, Lily Djanel; Alfredo Simonetto, 1952) MYTO Verdi: Aida
Aida
(Callas, Barbieri, Tucker; Serafin, 1955) EMI Verdi: Un ballo in maschera
Un ballo in maschera
(Callas, Ratti, Barbieri, Di Stefano; Votto, 1956) EMI Verdi: Don Carlos
Don Carlos
(Stella, Nicolai, Filippeschi, Christoff; Santini, 1954) EMI Verdi: Don Carlos
Don Carlos
(Brouwenstijn, Vickers, Christoff, Barbieri; Giulini 1958) MYTO Verdi: Falstaff (Schwarzkopf; Karajan, 1956) EMI Verdi: Nabucco
Nabucco
(Souliotis, Prevedi; Gardelli, 1965) Decca Records Verdi: Otello
Otello
(Rysanek, Pirazzini, Vickers; Serafin, 1960) RCA Verdi: Rigoletto
Rigoletto
(Callas, Di Stefano; Serafin, 1955) EMI Verdi: Simon Boccanegra
Simon Boccanegra
(de los Ángeles, Campora, Christoff; Santini, 1957) EMI Verdi: La traviata
La traviata
(Stella, Di Stefano; Serafin, 1955) EMI

Selected filmography[edit]

Forbidden Music (1942) Before Him All Rome Trembled
Before Him All Rome Trembled
(1946) O sole mio (1946) The Barber of Seville
The Barber of Seville
(1947) Mad About Opera
Mad About Opera
(1948) The Force of Destiny (1950) Soho Conspiracy (1950) The Firebird (1952)

References[edit] Notes

^ Article on Tito Gobbi
Tito Gobbi
on Italian ^ Duffie interview, 1982 ^ Gobbi's filmography, 1937 to 1955 on the Tito Gobbi
Tito Gobbi
Association's website. ^ a b Tito Gobbi
Tito Gobbi
on imdb.com. This source includes a television Otello in 1959 ^ " Before Him All Rome Trembled
Before Him All Rome Trembled
(1946)". IMDb.  ^ a b Tolanski, in Opera, p. 1276 ^ "Stage Directions": list of operas, opera companies, and performers on the Tito Gobbi
Tito Gobbi
Association website. ^ Gobbi 1984, p. 196 ^ a b Gobbi 1984, p. 211 ^ Tony Locantro, " Maria Callas
Maria Callas
at Covent Garden, 1962 and 1964", Notes accompanying the 2002 EMI
EMI
Classics DVD release ^ Don Giovanni, live recording from 7/27/1950, published by Archipel, Catalog number ARPCD 0013-3 ^ operadepot.com: The Marriage of Figaro
The Marriage of Figaro
1963 Covent Garden, conducted by Georg Solti. ^ Stephen Hall, "Opera conductor a humble wizard in Oz": an obituary of conductor Carlo Cillario who conducted this performance, The Australian (Sydney), 20 December 2007 ^ Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center. "Entry for Gobbi, Tito (1915-1984)". Retrieved 28 January 2017.  ^ Gobbi 1984, p. 202 ^ Gobbi 1984, "Tosca" in Tito Gobbi
Tito Gobbi
and His World of Italian Opera, pp. 202—206

Sources

Associazione Tito Gobbi
Tito Gobbi
( Tito Gobbi
Tito Gobbi
Association) Duffie, Bruce (7 October 1982), "A Conversation" with Tito Gobbi, Chicago. Gobbi, Tito (1979), My Life. London: Macdonald and Jane's. ISBN 0-354-04368-4 Gobbi, Tito (1984), Tito Gobbi
Tito Gobbi
and His World of Italian Opera. London: Hamish Hamilton Ltd. ISBN 0-241-11257-5 Gobbi Archive, on the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University's website. Holland, Bernard, "Tito Gobbi, 68, Italian operatic baritone and director, dies", The New York Times, 6 March 1984. Retrieved 4 April 2014 Tito Gobbi
Tito Gobbi
on IMDb "Presenting a Celebration of Tito Gobbi's Centenary: An Online Exhibition from his Archive". Photographs, documents, and operatic excerpts online at the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University's website. Tolansky, John (October 2013), "A Masterclass in Life", Opera (London), Vol. 64, No. 10, pp. 1274 – 1278

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tito Gobbi.

Falstaff Don Giovanni The Count in The Marriage of Figaro BBC Radio 4 - Desert Island Discs, Tito Gobbi, 30 June 1979.

Biography portal Opera portal

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 64091477 LCCN: n83047127 ISNI: 0000 0001 1446 1885 GND: 124071473 SUDOC: 059776234 BNF: cb124028077 (data) MusicBrainz: e8762e31-b9c7-46c3-b47b-3c8c1fad59ed NLA: 36068185 NKC: xx0087450 BNE: XX853

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