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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....


Devriès, David  

Elizabeth Forbes

Member of Devriès family

(b Bagnères-de-Luchon, 1881; d Neuilly-sur-Seine, 1934). French tenor of Dutch extraction, son of Maurice Devriès. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire and made his début in 1904 as Gérald (Lakmé) at the Opéra-Comique, where he was engaged for many years. In 1906 he created Philodemus in Erlanger’s Aphrodite, and he was particularly successful as George Brown in the 1909 revival of Boieldieu’s La dame blanche. His roles included Almaviva (Il barbiere), Don José, Julien (Louise), Pinkerton, Des Grieux (Manon), Vincent (Mireille), De Nangis (Le roi malgré lui), Jean Gaussin (Sapho), Armand (Thérèse), Werther, Araquil (La Navarraise), Cavaradossi, Rodolfo and Alfredo. In 1909–10 he sang with the Manhattan Opera Company in New York and Philadelphia, making his début as Ange-Pitou (La fille de Madame Angot). He also sang Strauss’s Aegisthus and Narraboth and, with the permission of ...


Díaz [Diaz], Rafaelo  

John Koegel

[Francisco Rafael ]

(b San Antonio, TX, May 16, 1883; d New York, NY, Dec 12, 1943). American operatic tenor and recitalist of Mexican and German heritage. He was the most prominent Mexican American opera singer of his day, although perhaps to advance his career he used the Italian-sounding first name “Rafaelo,” and press reports sometimes identified him as Spanish instead of Mexican American or Mexican. Díaz attended the German-English School and the West Texas Military Academy (now Texas Military Institute) in San Antonio. He studied piano with Amalia Hander, a local music teacher, and at the Stern Conservatory in Berlin. After vocal studies with Vincenzo Sabatini in Milan, he returned to the United States and in 1911 began appearing in small roles with the Boston Grand Opera Company, quickly moving up to more prominent assignments. He accompanied the soprano Luisa Tetrazzini on a tour in 1913 and made his Metropolitan Opera debut in Massenet’s ...


Gibin, João  

Noël Goodwin


(b São Paulo, July 10, 1929; d Verona, Italy, June 12, 1997). Brazilian tenor. He began singing as a baritone; after winning the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer South American ‘Caruso Competition’ in 1954, he went to study in Italy and made the change to tenor while at the Scuola della Scala, Milan. His engagements in Italy made him known elsewhere: in ...


Gott, Karel  

Karel Steinmetz and Geoffrey Chew

(b Plzeň [Pilsen], July 14, 1939; d Prague, Oct 1, 2019). Czech pop singer, actor, and painter. The best-known and most successful Czech pop singer of the 20th and 21st centuries. In his youth Gott aspired to become a painter, and after completing his schooling in Plzeň, he applied to study art in Prague. After failing to be admitted, he trained as an electrician, and during his training devoted himself also to singing. He began by studying as an opera singer (lyric tenor) with Konstantin Karenin, a pupil of Chaliapin, at first at the Prague Conservatoire and later privately. In 1962 he was engaged at the Semafor Theatre in Prague of Jiří Suchý and Jiří Šlitr, where he achieved great success singing the songs of Suchý and Šlitr; in 1963 he won the Zlatý slavík (‘Golden Nightingale’) poll for the first time, with the hit Oči má sněhem zaváté...


Lanza, Mario  

Brad Eden

(b Philadelphia, PA, 31 Jan 1921; d Rome, Italy, 7 Oct 1959). American tenor.

The son of Italian immigrants, Lanza worked in his family’s grocery business and studied singing early on, winning a scholarship to attend Tanglewood after an audition with Koussevitzky. He changed his last name to Lanza during this time, which was close to his mother’s maiden name. During wartime military service, Lanza sang often for military radio programs. Upon his discharge, he quickly became a celebrity, performing at the Hollywood Bowl in 1946 and in the movie That Midnight Kiss (1949) which put him in the national spotlight. He became known as the “new Caruso.” He made six more films, including his most well known, The Great Caruso (1951), which was the top grossing film of that year, and influenced an entire generation of operatic tenors, including Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras...



J.B. Steane


Term for an old man’s role sung by a high tenor. In the later part of his career as an haute-contre, Jean-Louis Laruette of the Opéra-Comique specialized in comic roles for elderly gentlemen, which came to be known as ‘laruettes’. As early as Mozart and Rossini old men’s roles were generally for a bass rather than a high tenor, but the tradition survived in ...


Leshnikoff, [Asparuh] Ari  

Claire Levy

(b Haskovo, 29 June 1896; d Sofia, 31 July 1978). Bulgarian singer, internationally famous as a schlager performer, nicknamed the ‘Knight of the Upper F’. As a child he was a solo singer in the church choir in the town of Stara Zagora. Later on he went to the military school in Sofia and in 1920 took professional vocal lessons. In 1923 Leshnikoff went to Berlin, where he received a scholarship at the Sternischen Konservatorium. In 1927 he was appointed at the Grosses Schauspielhaus – a review theatre – and in 1928 joined Comedian Harmonists, a newly formed male vocal sextet, to perform the first tenor part. Becoming one of the most popular groups in Europe before World War II, Comedian Harmonists developed a style, based on aspects of German schlager, bel canto opera singing, pleasing tunes influenced by traditional lyrical songs, and Afro-American-derived patterns associated with the blues, gospel, and close harmony vocal techniques. Their records were released by labels including Odeon, Electrola, Columbia, and His Master’s Voice. In ...


Lyric tenor  

J.B. Steane

(Fr. ténor lyrique; Ger. lirischer Tenor; It. tenore lirico)

Tenors of the lighter sort will not be required to contend with heavy orchestration or to raise their voices in strenuous declamation, and therefore (the theory goes) can concentrate on the production of beautiful tone and evenness of line. In this way they will bring grace to the composer’s melodies: hence ‘lyric’. (The lighter kind of lyric tenor is also known as Tenore di grazia (opera) .) As the tenor became increasingly important in opera during the latter half of the 18th century, he found himself having two main dramatic functions to fulfil, those of hero and lover. Where the role was largely confined to the part of lover it fell essentially to the lyric tenor; so Ferrando and Don Ottavio (but not Idomeneus) in Mozart are taken by the lyric tenor, as also Almaviva, Lindoro and Don Ramiro (but not Arnold or Otello) in Rossini. Tenors who specialize in operas of this period and who include in their repertory parts such as Arturo in ...