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Encyclopedia > Titta Ruffo

Titta Ruffo, Italian opera singer (Pisa, June 9, 1877 - Florence, July 5, 1953), was generally regarded as the greatest Italian baritone of his generation - or any generation since. Known as the "Voce del leone" ("voice of the lion"), he was renowned for his enormous voice, thrilling high notes and dramatic force on stage. Other baritones, even the greatest, were in awe of Ruffo's voice: Giuseppe De Luca, a baritone star in his own right, said of Ruffo, "His was not a voice, it was a miracle;" (although not often published is the second part of De Luca's conclusion "...which he [Ruffo] bawled away...") and Victor Maurel, the creator of Verdi's Iago and Falstaff, said that the notes of Ruffo's upper register were the most glorious baritone sounds he had ever heard. Image File history File links TittaRuffo. ... Image File history File links TittaRuffo. ... Leaning Tower of Pisa. ... June 9 is the 160th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (161st in leap years), with 205 days remaining. ... 1877 (MDCCCLXXVII) was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... This article is about the city in Italy. ... is the 186th day of the year (187th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... January 7 - President Harry S. Truman announces the United States has developed a hydrogen bomb. ... Victor Maurel (June 17, 1848 in Marseilles-October 22, 1923 in New York City ) was a French baritone. ... “Verdi” redirects here. ... Othello and Iago. ...


Born Ruffo Titta in Pisa (he later changed his name for the stage), Ruffo was the son of an engineer. He studied voice with several teachers, but basically his vocal method was self-taught. He made his debut in 1898 at the Teatro Constanzi in Rome as the Herald in Wagner's Lohengrin. After a slow start, his career took off in the early 1900s and he quickly achieved international renown. His major debuts were in London (1903), Milan (1904), Lisbon (1907), Buenos Aires (1908) and the Paris Opéra (1911). Ruffo made his American debut in Philadelphia in 1912 and sang extensively in Chicago. He reached the Metropolitan Opera relatively late in his career, in 1922 as Figaro in Rossini's The Barber of Seville. He sang 46 performances at the Met from 1922 through 1929. Leaning Tower of Pisa. ... Year 1898 (MDCCCXCVIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Monday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ... For other uses, see Rome (disambiguation). ... Richard Wagner Wilhelm Richard Wagner (22 May 1813 – 13 February 1883) was a German composer, conductor, music theorist, and essayist, primarily known for his operas (or music dramas as they were later called). ... Lohengrin is a romantic opera (or music drama) in three acts by Richard Wagner. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... 1900 (MCMIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Friday of the 13-day slower Julian calendar. ... 1904 (MCMIV) was a leap year starting on a Friday (see link for calendar). ... For other uses, see Lisbon (disambiguation). ... Year 1907 (MCMVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Monday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... For other uses, see Buenos Aires (disambiguation). ... 1908 (MCMVIII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar). ... Exterior of the Palais Garnier. ... Year 1911 (MCMXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Saturday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... For other uses, see Philadelphia (disambiguation) and Philly. ... 1912 (MCMXII) was a leap year starting on Monday in the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Tuesday in the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Nickname: Motto: Urbs in Horto (Latin: City in a Garden), I Will Location in the Chicago metro area and Illinois Coordinates: , Country State Counties Cook, DuPage Settled 1770s Incorporated March 4, 1837 Government  - Mayor Richard M. Daley (D) Area  - City  234. ... Year 1922 (MCMXXII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Figaro may refer to any of the following: Figaro, the central character in the comedies, The Barber of Seville, The Marriage of Figaro, and The Guilty Mother by Pierre de Beaumarchais. ... Portrait Gioacchino Antonio Rossini (February 29, 1792 – November 13, 1868)[1] was an Italian musical composer who wrote more than 30 operas as well as sacred music and chamber music. ... For the Beaumarchais play, see The Barber of Seville (play). ...

Ruffo's repertoire included most of the major baritone roles in French and Italian opera, including Rigoletto, Di Luna, Amonasro, Germont, Tonio, Rossini's Figaro, Hamlet, Iago, Carlo in Ernani, Don Giovanni, Barnaba, and Renato in Un Ballo in Maschera. He was also renowned for several baritone roles in operas largely forgotten today: the title roles in Ambroise Thomas's Hamlet and Franchetti's Cristoforo Colombo, Cascart in Leoncavallo's Zazà and Neri in Giordano's La Cena delle Beffe. Ruffo's signature roles were Rigoletto and Hamlet. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 476 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (709 × 893 pixel, file size: 80 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Date c1912 Dec 11. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 476 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (709 × 893 pixel, file size: 80 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Date c1912 Dec 11. ... Giuseppe Verdi, by Giovanni Boldini, 1886 (National Gallery of Modern Art, Rome) Rigoletto is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi. ... Portrait Gioacchino Antonio Rossini (February 29, 1792 – November 13, 1868)[1] was an Italian musical composer who wrote more than 30 operas as well as sacred music and chamber music. ... Ernani is an operatic dramma lirico in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, based on the play Hernani by Victor Hugo. ... Un ballo in maschera, or A Masked Ball, is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi with text by Antonio Somma. ... Charles Louis Ambroise Thomas (August 5, 1811 - February 12, 1896) was a French opera composer. ... Hamlet is an opera in five acts by the French composer Ambroise Thomas. ... Alberto Franchetti (18 September 1860 – 4 August 1942) was an Italian opera composer. ... Ruggiero Leoncavallo (March 8, 1857 - August 9, 1919) was an Italian opera composer. ... Zazà is an opera by Ruggero Leoncavallo, with the libretto by the composer. ... Umberto Giordano (August 28, 1867 - November 12, 1948) was a composer, mainly of opera. ...


Ruffo's voice was a huge instrument, powerfully resonant and rich with an exceptionally brilliant upper register all the way up to high A. It has been compared to burnished bronze, and indeed there was more than a little metal in his sound. In the middle register the voice was rather dark in color. His lower notes were weak and lacked the resonance of his higher tones. The voice, over all, was colorful and prismatic.


Like his famous tenor compatriot, Enrico Caruso, Ruffo was said to embody a new style of singing in which power and declamatory force eclipsed the previous generation's premium on vocal grace, subtlety and finesse - according to the respected critics John Steane ("The Grand Tradition" Duckworth, 1971) and Michael Scott ("The Record of Singing" Duckworth, 1978) this is not a true reflection of the two singers' techniques which were far from crude. Notwithstanding his great popularity, Ruffo's vocal approach, however, was not universally admired, and he was compared unfavorably by some critics with the great lyric baritone Mattia Battistini. Ruffo's detractors accused him of bellowing and seeking to overpower audiences with sheer force of sound, but his records show him to have been capable of great subtlety and nuance. For the song Caruso by Lucio Dalla, see Caruso (song). ... Mattia Battistini, Italian operatic baritone, born Rome, 27 February 1856, died Collebaccaro di Contigliano, Rieti, 7 November 1928. ...


Ruffo was a prolific recording artist and made over 130 records, acoustic and electric, first for Pathé Frères in Paris in 1904, and then exclusively for Victor (the "Gramophone Company" in England) beginning in 1907. Like Caruso, Ruffo's voice recorded exceptionally well. It was so rich and resonant that even through the primitive acoustic recording process, much glory remains to be heard. He continued recording into the electric recording era after 1925, but at far as one is able to judge (many titles remained unpublished) most of those later discs caught him past his prime: some unpublished sides made in London in 1933,however, subsequently issued ( http://www.truesoundtransfers.de/Titellisten/TT2490.htm ), are at least touching "beaux restes" and show an artist, at least in intent, able to modulate a huge voice producing some intimacy and charm. Pathé or Pathé Frères is the name of various businesses founded and originally run by the Pathé Brothers of France. ... This article is about the capital of France. ... Victor is a Latin name that means conqueror. Its a first name normally given to boys. ... Enrico Caruso Enrico Caruso (February 25, 1873 – August 2, 1921) was one of the most famous tenors in the history of opera. ...


In his prime he made two stunning records of Hamlet's "Brindisi" (1907 and 1911), the cadenza in which demonstrates his astounding breath control. Most amazing of all is the unaccompanied "All'erta, marinar!" from Meyerbeer's L'Africaine which shows the superhuman resonance and brilliance of Ruffo's upper register as do the recordings from Leoncavallo's now largely forgotten opera "Zaza." Giacomo Meyerbeer Giacomo Meyerbeer (September 5, 1791 - May 2, 1864) was a noted opera composer. ... LAfricaine (The African Woman) is an opera by Giacomo Meyerbeer. ...


Ruffo was never a "house baritone" or a resident singer with any opera company; he was a star in his own right and received top billing - and top fees - wherever he sang. Ruffo was the only male opera singer of his time who could compete, in terms of celebrity and fees, with Caruso. Surprisingly, they sang together infrequently. Three explanations have been adduced for this: firstly, that neither singer liked sharing the glory with another male star; secondly, that very few opera houses could afford to pay both singers' exorbitant fees in one performance, especially if there was an expensive soprano singing as well. Thirdly (Farkas 1984), according to contemporary newspaper reviews of their joint performances, Ruffo consistently overshadowed Caruso! Caruso and Ruffo did pair up twice in the recording studio. Only one recording of these survive, the duet "Sì, pel ciel" from Otello. It is considered by many vocal connoisseurs to be the greatest single vocal record ever made. Among many other vocal feats in this recording, Ruffo, unlike any other Iago on records, manages an incredible, declamatory vocal style from beginning to end. Caruso rises to the challenge, and the result is unequalled by any other recorded tenor-baritone combination in recorded history. Enrico Caruso Enrico Caruso (February 25, 1873 – August 2, 1921) was one of the most famous tenors in the history of opera. ... For the Rossini opera, see Otello (Rossini) or for the eurobeat artist see Gianni Coraini. ...


Ruffo's forceful singing style was perhaps not conducive to vocal longevity, and his vocal decline began relatively early. It must not be forgotten that Ruffo did enlist and participate in World War I. Perhaps this contributed to his early decline. During the 1920s, his voice took on an increasingly hollow, metallic sound, still quite powerful but with a sense that the vocal core had been blown out. Volume remained aplenty, but the richness faded, and the resulting sound was impressive but not particularly beautiful. Perhaps the seeds for Ruffo's early decline were sown in the fact that he was largely self-taught. Ruffo himself seemed to recognize this and he refused to teach voice after his retirement, stating; "I never knew how to sing; that is why my voice went by the time I was fifty. I have no right to capitalize on my former name and reputation and try to teach youngsters something I never knew how to do myself." However, contemporary reviews of his 1912 American appearances (Tuggle 1983) noted the mastery and economy of vocal means in tone production. The exact reasons for Ruffo's vocal decline are still unclear.


Ruffo retired in 1931, staying for several years in Switzerland and Paris. He wrote an autobiography, La mia parabola (My Parable), which shows Ruffo to have been an intelligent, articulate and self-aware man. In 1937 he returned to Italy, where he was later arrested for opposing the Fascist regime. His memoir has been recently translated into English. Year 1931 (MCMXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display full 1931 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about the capital of France. ... Year 1937 (MCMXXXVII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Fascism is an authoritarian political ideology (generally tied to a mass movement) that considers individual and other societal interests subordinate to the interests of the state. ...


Titta Ruffo died in Florence from heart disease in 1953. This article is about the city in Italy. ... Heart disease is an umbrella term for a number of different diseases which affect the heart and as of 2007 it is the leading cause of death in the United States,[1] and England and Wales. ... January 7 - President Harry S. Truman announces the United States has developed a hydrogen bomb. ...


Sources

  • Farkas, Andrew (Ed.),Titta Ruffo: An Anthology (Greenwood Press 1984).
  • Hamilton, David, ed., The Metropolitan Opera Encyclopedia (Simon & Schuster, New York 1987).
  • Pleasants, Henry, The Great Singers (Simon & Schuster, New York 1966).
  • Seltsam, William H., Metropolitan Opera Annals (H.W. Wilson Co., New York 1947).
  • Steane, J.B., The Grand Tradition (Amadeus Press, Portland 1993).
  • Tuggle, Robert. The golden age of opera (Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1983).
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Titta Ruffo Information (926 words)
Titta Ruffo, Italian opera singer (Pisa, June 9, 1877 - Florence, July 5, 1953), was generally regarded as the greatest baritone of his generation.
Ruffo was a prolific recording artist and made over 130 records, acoustic and electric, first for Pathé Frères in Paris in 1904, and then exclusively for Victor (the "Gramophone Company" in England) beginning in 1907.
Titta Ruffo died in Florence from lung cancer in 1953.
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