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Roland J. Vázquez

(de)

(b Portugal, 1836; d Madrid, May 21, 1886). Spanish impresario, actor and singer. He first became popular in comic roles at theTeatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid. In 1866 he formed his own company, the Bufos Madrileños, modelled on Offenbach’s Bouffes-Parisiens. It was an instant success. By 1870 he had begun a second company in Barcelona. In addition to operettas by Offenbach and Lecocq, Arderíus staged new works by Spanish composers, including F. A. Barbieri and P. J. E. Arrieta.The dance routines and brief costumes of the female chorus were indispensable to the appeal of the Bufos, and were among the features that incited critics to condemn the genre as frivolous and a hindrance to the development of serious opera in Spanish. By the beginning of 1873 the company’s popularity had ended, and Arderíus had become director at the Teatro de la Zarzuela. Thereafter he championed the cause of national opera, attempting, without success, to launch a Spanish opera series in ...

Article

James May

(Mario Giulio)

(b Milan, July 5, 1943). Italian bass-baritone and director resident in South Africa. He studied the piano and singing privately while reading science at the University of Cape Town. His singing teachers were Albina Bini, Adelheid Armhold and Frederick Dalberg in Cape Town and, in 1965–6, Carlo Tagliabue and Anna Pistolesi in Milan. He made his début as Kecal (The Bartered Bride) in Cape Town in 1965. Gobbato is best known for buffo roles such as Dr Bartolo (Il barbiere), Don Pasquale and Figaro (Il barbiere and Figaro); he was awarded the first Nederburg Prize for opera in 1971 for his portrayal of Papageno. He was resident producer at the Nico Malan Opera House in Cape Town, 1976–81, and head of the opera school of the University of Cape Town, 1982–8. In 1989 he was appointed director of opera for the Cape Performing Arts Board. He has directed – mainly from the Italian repertory – for all the arts councils in South Africa....

Article

Harold Rosenthal

(b Cochem, Dec 12, 1881; d Berlin, April 17, 1959). German soprano and director. She studied at the Strasbourg Conservatory (1902–5), becoming an ‘apprentice’ at the Strasbourg Opera and making her début in 1903 as an offstage priestess in Aida. She was engaged at Rostock (1906–8), Breslau (1908–13), and, from 1913, at the Berlin Hofoper (later Staatsoper), remaining a member of the ensemble until 1932. In 1922 she made her Metropolitan début in the title role of Max von Schillings’s Mona Lisa. The next year she married the composer and sang again at the Metropolitan, as Elsa, Isolde – a role in which she was admired for her stage presence but considered deficient in range and power – and Kundry. She sang Senta at Bayreuth in 1914 (as Barbara Mikley-Kemp) and Kundry from 1924 to 1927. In 1938–9 she directed Von Schillings’s Ingwelde and ...

Article

Bonnie Elizabeth Fleming

(b Harrisburg, PA, March 2, 1921). American singing actress, producer, stage director, and teacher. Possessing a wide range of performing skills, she is known for undertaking challenging operatic roles such as Birdie and Regina in Mark Blitzstein’s Regina (1949, 1953, and 1958) and Lizzie in Jack Beeson’s Lizzie Borden (1965). She worked on Broadway, in light opera, on radio and television, and at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. Lewis attended Penn State University and was encouraged by its Glee Club director to audition for a scholarship at the Curtis Institute of Music, where she went on to study with Emilio de Gogorza. After her teacher suddenly left the Institute, Lewis auditioned and made her debut with the Philadelphia Opera Company at the age of 19 in the role of the Marschallin in Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier. A remarkably quick study, Lewis absorbed music and words in any language almost on the spot, a gift to which she attributes most of her early success. In ...

Article

(b England, 1827; d Richmond, va, Jan 14, 1882). American impresario and singer. Taken to the USA at an early age and adopted by the actor Peter Richings, she began her musical career as a concert pianist. She later studied singing and made her operatic début at the Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia, as Marie in Donizetti’s La fille du régiment (9 February 1852). She performed as pianist and singer in the Richings Opera Company, which her father had formed in 1859, and became its director on his retirement in 1867. In the same year she married Peter Bernard, a tenor in the troupe, which, under the name Richings-Bernard Company, toured the USA extensively. In 1870 they joined forces briefly with Euphrosyne Parepa-Rosa, their chief rival, as the Caroline Richings-Bernard Grand Opera Combination; but Clara Kellogg lured most of the good singers away and the venture failed financially....

Article

Boris Semeonoff

(b 18/July 30, 1877; d Moscow, March 5, 1952). Russian bass-baritone and opera director . After early musical education in Saratov, he went to study law in Moscow, where he had lessons in singing from Camillo Everardi and Mattia Battistini and in piano from Serge Rachmaninoff . He made his début in 1901 at the Moscow Private Opera, spent two years at the Tbilisi Opera, and returned to Moscow in 1905 as leading soloist with Zimin’s opera company, where he created the roles of Dodon (The Golden Cockerel, 1909) and Suleyman in Ippolitov-Ivanov’s Izmena (‘The Betrayal’, 1910). His repertory spanned almost the entire range of bass and baritone parts, from the Miller (Rusalka) and Kochubey (Mazepa) to Escamillo and Amonasro; in Boris Godunov he sang Varlaam and Rangoni, as well as the title role. He gave up singing in 1916 and devoted his time to organizing opera and teaching in provincial cities. From ...