- J.B. Steane
(b Saluzzo, June 3, 1861; d Chicago, April 15, 1928). Italian bass. Gifted with a commanding stage presence and a sonorous voice, he studied singing while training for business. After his début at Varese in Gomes’s Il Guarany in 1883 he sang in the provinces, going to La Scala in 1893, first as Sparafucile in Rigoletto and then as Pistol in the première of Falstaff. His international career dates from 1894, when he sang Don Basilio to Patti’s Rosina at Covent Garden, with a New York début at the Metropolitan in 1896. From 1905 he spent most of his time in the USA, having sung in Russia, Poland and Austria. He joined Hammerstein’s Manhattan Opera Company, singing Arkel in the American première of Pelléas et Mélisande, and at the Metropolitan appeared as Nero, originally a tenor role, in Jean Nouguès’s Quo vadis?. His greatest personal success remained Méphistophélès in ...