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Ansatz (ii)  

Article

Antoniu, Kristaq  

Mikaela Minga

[Antoniu, Christache]

(b Bucharest, Romania, Dec 25, 1907; d Tirana, Albania, March 17, 1979). Tenor, actor, and stage director. He studied at the Mimodramatic High School of Bucharest and then in Rome, with M. Polverosi. In Romania, he had a successful career as an actor and singer. He was in the movie industry in the 1920s and early 30s, playing in more than 15 films, including Ciocoii (1931), Iancu Jianu, (1928), and Maiorul Mura (1927). In the meantime, he worked in the Alhambra theater as a singer and stage director of operettas. In the mid 1930s, Antoniu moved to Albania and pursued a singing career. He made only one cinematic appearance in 1943, for the short film documentary Takimi në liqen (‘Meeting at the Lake’). He was a dramatic tenor, with a baritone quality in his voice. This led him to explore a large range of operatic characters from both the Western opera repertory and the Albanian one. He performed and recorded Albanian traditional or folk songs, handled with an operatic vocal posture and arranged with western harmonies. His son, Gjergj Antoniu was a prominent Albanian cellist....

Article

Aspirate  

J.B. Steane

When a syllable is sung to more than one note, some singers are in the habit of inserting a light aspirate, as in ‘Cele-heste Aida’. In Italy, Spain and Latin America this appears not to be considered a major stylistic fault (if one at all), but in Britain and, on the whole, the USA and Germany the practice is generally condemned. Gramophone records suggest that in standard operatic work the habit grew during the first half of the century, and that criticism has subsequently had some effect: Domingo and Pavarotti, for instance, are not habitual aspiraters, unlike their predecessors such as Gigli and Pertile. More insidious are the means used to ‘separate’ notes in the florid music of Baroque composers, where on the one hand they are defended as ensuring greater clarity, and on the other attacked as the makeshift devices of a defective technique....

Article

Assoluto, assoluta  

John Rosselli

(It.: ‘absolute’)

As applied to a singer, the term crept into opera bills and contracts with the general inflation of titles that set in towards the end of the 18th century. In theory it meant ‘unique’: a particular singer was the only member of the company engaged for a season entitled to be called prima donna (or primo tenore, primo basso etc.), and she or he could refuse parts that did not fit the description. In practice, nearly every leading singer now wished to be called ‘absolute’, however illogically; in Naples the impresario Domenico Barbaia, backed up by Rossini, was still resisting the trend in the 1820s, but in vain. By 1877 the tenor-impresario Italo Campanini could write of parti assolute, meaning simply leading parts; these included Marguerite de Valois in Les Huguenots, one of two leading women’s parts in that work (letter of 29 July 1877, I-Ms Coll. Casati 233). Thus devalued into meaninglessness, the term seems to have vanished from opera by the early 20th century. It is still occasionally used– in its original sense–of an outstanding ballerina....

Article

Athanasi, Gjoni  

Nicholas Tochka

(b Brockton, MA, USA, Nov 4, 1925). Albanian tenor and pedagogue. Born in the large Albanian immigrant colony in New England (USA), Athanasi returned as a child to his parents’ hometown of Korça, where he participated in its vibrant prewar choral, theatre, and sports scenes. During World War II, he performed with resistance groups singing patriotic and partisan songs and, in 1948, he was selected as a soloist in the newly formed National Army Ensemble by director Gaqo Avrazi. Athanasi was among a handful of young men in this ensemble to receive a scholarship to study in the Soviet Union, and following the completion of his degree in vocal performance at the Moscow State Conservatory in 1958, he was appointed soloist at Tirana’s Theatre of Opera and Ballet. He performed leading roles in premières of Albanian operas, and was active as a recitalist, performing a broad range of art music works from the Western European and Albanian repertories as well as arranged folk songs into the 1980s. In ...

Article

Bačanović, Milivoj  

Lana Paćuka

(b Herceg Novi, Montenegro, Dec 5, 1921; d Sarajevo, Bosnia, April 17, 2012) Bosnian baritone and opera soloist of Montenegrin origin. He made his début at the National Theatre in Sarajevo (1946), and after that, except for short engagements at the Zagreb Opera (1955–7), his artistic work was tied to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Before beginning his musical education he attended the Maritime Trade Academy, after which he enrolled in solo singing at the Rossini Conservatory in Pesaro. He also worked as a member of the Ivo Lola Ribar ensemble in Belgrade.

His début in the role of Rigoletto (Rigoletto, G. Verdi) enabled him to gain the status of first soloist at the Sarajevo Opera, which was the decisive moment in his career. During his artistic career he interpreted the roles of Papageno (The Magic Flute, W.A. Mozart), Sima (Ero s onog svijeta...

Article

Badev, Nikola  

Trena Jordanoska and Dimitrije Bužarovski

(b Glišikj, Kavadarci, Republic of Macedonia, 1918; d Skopje Sept 25, 1976). Macedonian folk singer. His lyric tenor voice, with its distinctive timbre (simultaneously light and warm), was recognized soon after his first performance in Radio Skopje in 1948, and it was established as a model for the male vocal repertory of traditional Macedonian music. He sang softly, with richness, in a narrow piano dynamic spectrum, and with delicate use of vibrato and ornaments. He became an idol among Macedonian audiences worldwide and has been adored by Balkan audiences as well, taking tours in Europe, Canada, USA, and Australia.

His recorded repertory of over 230 songs (without variants) is published on dozens of LPs and cassettes. 359 recorded songs have been digitized and stored in the Buzarovski Archive (BuzAr) in 2005. His diverse repertory was carefully selected with a refined musical taste, mainly from urban traditional songs of all genres—love, elegiac, patriotic, and humorous songs. His voice was well suited to ensemble performance, resulting in duets with V. Ilieva, A. Sarievski, Mirvet Belovska, Dragica Nikolova, Blagoj Petrov Karagjule, Violeta Tomovska, E. Redžepova, Anka Gieva, and Atina Apostolova....

Article

Bakšić, Amila  

Ivan Čavlović

(b Mostar, 1953). Bosnian-Herzegovinian soprano. Bakšić graduated from the Secondary Music School in Mostar. In 1976 she graduated from the Department for Music Theory and in 1979 from the Department for Solo-Singing at the Academy of Music in Sarajevo. She studied solo-singing in the class of the famous opera singer and professor Milica Buljubašić-Zečević. As a student she began to sing at the Music Scene of Sarajevo, first at the student concerts and then on the opera stage. In 1979 she made her début as Rosette in Manon. In 1981, at the very beginning of her career, she performed her first leading role as Floramye in the operette Little Floramye by Ivo Tijardović.

After graduating from the Department for Solo-Singing Bakšić passed the audition at the National Theatre Opera in Sarajevo and has since become a permanent soloist in the opera and operetta repertoire. Some of her leading roles include Rosette in ...

Article

Bannister, Charles  

Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

Member of Bannister family

(b Newland, Gloucs., 1741; d London, Oct 19, 1804). English bass and actor. He had a fine, untaught voice and sang roles including Macheath and Hawthorne in Norwich before his Drury Lane début as Merlin in Michael Arne’s Cymon (1767). In 1768 he created Don Diego in The Padlock and for over 20 years was given leading roles in musical pieces by Dibdin, Shield and Arnold. Tom Tug in The Waterman and Steady in The Quaker were two of his successes; he was also admired for his Grimbald (King Arthur), Hecate and Caliban. According to the Thespian Dictionary his voice ‘was a strong, clear bass, with one of the most extensive falsettos ever heard’. In the early 1780s he was an incomparable Polly in travesty performances of The Beggar’s Opera. There, as in his famous imitations of the castratos, the humour lay in brilliantly accurate mimicry and not in exaggerated burlesque. Convivial, improvident, witty and good-natured, he was said to attribute his vocal stamina to gargling with port wine....

Article

Bannister, Elizabeth  

Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

[née Harper]

Member of Bannister family

(bap. Bath, Nov 22, 1757; d London, Jan 15, 1849). English soprano. She was admired as a charming woman with a pure voice and unadorned singing style. Most of her stage career was spent in summer seasons at the Haymarket, where she sang from 1778 and created many roles in operas by Shield and Arnold, including Eliza in The Flitch of Bacon and Laura in The Agreeable Surprise. She also sang in concerts and was at Covent Garden from 1781 to 1786, creating the title role in Shield’s Rosina. She married the actor John Bannister in 1783, reputedly teaching him to sing and turning him into a model husband and father. She retired in 1792 to ‘trim Friendship’s lamp round her family fire’.

BDALSA. Pasquin [pseud. of J. Williams]: The Children of Thespis, 2 (London, 1787,13/1792)‘Mrs Bannister’, Thespian Magazine, 1 (1792),117–18J. O’Keeffe...

Article

Bannister, John  

Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

Member of Bannister family

(b Deptford, London, May 12, 1760; d London, Nov 7, 1836). English actor and baritone, son of Charles Bannister. During his career he played, according to his Memories, well over 400 different parts. He became a favourite comic actor and after his marriage to the soprano Elizabeth Harper in 1783 he began to take singing roles. Robson praised his voice as ‘full, round, clear, manly, and intelligible’ and declared: ‘everybody loved Jack Bannister’. In Storace’s operas, from The Haunted Tower (1789) onwards, he and Nancy Storace were frequently paired as the secondary lovers and Kelly later wrote roles for him. In Storace’s exuberant afterpiece The Three and the Deuce (1795) he played identical triplets, while as Walter, the saviour of the babes in Arnold’s The Children in the Wood, he delighted audiences from 1793 until his farewell performance in ...

Article

Barilli-Patti, Caterina Chiesa  

Elizabeth Forbes

Member of Patti family

(b Rome; d Rome, Sept 6, 1870). Italian soprano, wife of Salvatore Patti. She studied singing with Barilli, her first husband, and sang Eleanora at the first performance of Donizetti’s L’assedio di Calais in 1836 at the S Carlo, Naples, also appearing there in I puritani, Gemma di Vergy and Coppola’s La pazza per amore. She is said to have sung Norma in Madrid the night before the birth of her youngest child, Adelina Patti. After singing for a time in New York, she retired to Rome. The children of her first marriage, Clotilde (a contralto), Ettore (a baritone), Antonio and Nicolo (basses) Barilli, all had successful careers. Her eldest daughter by Patti, Amalia (b Paris, 1831; d Paris, Dec 1915), appeared as a soprano in opera and on the concert platform in the USA until her marriage to the pianist and impresario Maurice Strakosch....

Article

Baryton Martin  

J.B. Steane

A term used to characterize a particular type of Baritone voice. It owes its origin to (Nicolas-)Jean-Blaise Martin (1768–1837), a baritone with a remarkably extensive upper range, sufficiently famous and distinctive for his name to continue in use long after his death to denote a high, lyric baritone, almost a tenor, usually bright of timbre and light of weight, but with a free, unthroaty production characteristic of the French school. Jean Périer, the first Pelléas, was probably typical, with Gabriel Soulacroix a distinguished predecessor and Camille Maurane (...

Article

Bass  

Owen Jander, Lionel Sawkins, J.B. Steane, and Elizabeth Forbes

(Fr. basse; Ger. Bass; It. basso)

The lowest male voice, normally written for within the range F to e′, which may be extended at either end.

Italian composers in the late 16th century often wrote highly ornate parts for the bass voice, and this continued into the first three decades of the 17th. In opera, however, where bass roles were few and generally unimportant, ornate writing was relatively rare; the emphasis lay rather on dramatic portrayal. In the surviving operas of Monteverdi the bass already appears in some of what were to be its most important historical role types: as a god (particularly a god of the underworld: Pluto in Orfeo, 1607, Neptune in Il ritorno d’Ulisse, 1640), or as a sepulchral figure (Charon in Orfeo). In Orfeo Monteverdi called for special instrumentation (the regal, a trombone choir) which was itself to become a tradition in much operatic scoring associated with the bass voice. A further impressive use of the voice is for the role of Seneca in ...

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Bass line  

Article

Benda [Hatašová], Anna Franziska  

Article

Berganza (Vargas), Teresa  

Harold Rosenthal

(b Madrid, March 16, 1935; d San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Madrid, May 13, 2022). Spanish mezzo-soprano. She studied in Madrid with Lola Rodriguez Aragon, a pupil of Elisabeth Schumann. She made her début in 1957 as Dorabella at Aix-en-Provence, returning as Rosina, Purcell’s Dido, Cherubino, Octavia (L’incoronazione di Poppea), and Ruggiero (Alcina). In 1958 she sang Isolier (Le comte Ory) at the Piccola Scala and Cherubino at Glyndebourne, and made her American début at Dallas as Isabella (L’italiana in Algeri). She first appeared at Covent Garden in 1960 as Rosina, then sang Cherubino and, during La Scala’s 1976 visit, the title role of La Cenerentola. She sang at Chicago, the Metropolitan (1967–8), Vienna, Paris, and Salzburg; her roles included Cesti’s Orontea, Mozart’s Sextus, and Cherubini’s Neris (Médée). Her rich creamy voice with its great agility, perfect for the Rossini mezzo-soprano roles, developed a heavier tone and a more dramatic style appropriate to Carmen, which she sang at Edinburgh (...

Article

Berton, Adolphe  

David Charlton

Member of Berton family

(b Paris, 1817; d Algiers, Feb 28, 1857). French tenor, son of Henri Berton. After studying at the Paris Conservatoire, he began his career at the Opéra-Comique and the Théâtre de la Renaissance. Lack of success prompted him to seek work elsewhere in France and in ...

Article

Bland, Charles  

Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

Member of Bland family

(b London, Aug 14, 1802; d after Jan 1838). English tenor, son of Maria Theresa Bland. He sang at Covent Garden from 1824 and created the title role in Weber's Oberon (1826) under the composer's direction. The librettist, Planché, wrote that he sang ‘at least respectably the airs assigned to the King of the Fairies’, but the reviewer of the ...

Article

Bland, James  

Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

Member of Bland family

(b London, March 5, 1798; d London, July 17, 1861). English bass-baritone and actor, son of Maria Theresa Bland. He sang in the company of the English Opera House at the Lyceum (1826–30) and then, after a brief period acting minor roles at Drury Lane, achieved fame in J.R. Planché's burlesque burlettas. Planché called him the ‘monarch of the extravaganza’, praised his ‘good baritone voice’ and wrote that his acting never degenerated into buffoonery. He died suddenly at the Strand Theatre, where he was due to perform in ...