- Desmond Shawe-Taylor
- , revised by Alan Blyth
(b Montagnana, Italy, Oct 22, 1885; d New York, NY, Feb 2, 1969). Italian tenor. After study in Milan, he made his stage debut there at the Teatro Dal Verme in Giuseppe Verdi’s Ernani in 1910. The next year he sang Dick Johnson in La fanciulla del West at Rome under Arturo Toscanini, later his “passport role” to many theaters. His debut at the Metropolitan Opera in La bohème on 20 Nov 1913 initiated a career with the company that lasted without interruption for 31 consecutive seasons, with a few still later appearances in 1945 and 1946. He sang with the company in 926 performances in a total of 38 operas. His appearances outside the United States became rare, but he was as firm a favorite in Chicago and San Francisco as in New York.
Over the years Martinelli developed an unimpeachable technique and scrupulous style, and after the death of Enrico Caruso he became the leading exponent of such dramatic and heroic roles as Verdi’s Manrico, Radames, Don Alvaro, and, eventually, Otello. He displayed his skills as a singing actor in the roles of Samson and Eléazar (...