Category Archives: Baritones

MANUEL AUSENSI, Baritone * 8 October 1919, Barcelona, Spain + 1 September 2005, Creixell, Spain;

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Manuel Ausensi i Albalat (Catalan pronunciation: [mənuˈɛɫ əwˈsɛnsi]) (1919, in Barcelona – 2005, in Creixell, Tarragona) was a Catalan baritone opera singer.

During the Spanish Civil War, he studied singing in Valencia and then in the Municipal Conservatory of Barcelona. His debut was in 1946 at the Tivoli Theater. In 1947 he sang in Donizetti’s Anna Bolena at the Liceu.

He was considered particularly outstanding in roles such as Rigoletto, but also sang eighteenth century music such as Mozart and Cimarosa and French romantic opera at the Liceu for thirteen consecutive seasons. He recorded a famous full version of The Barber of Seville conducted by Silvio Varviso and co-starring Teresa Berganza and Ugo Benelli in 1964. He also recorded the leading role in several Spanish zarzuelas such as La calesera, El caserío, Los gavilanes, Katiuska, La legió d’honor, Los diamantes de la corona and Jugar con fuego.

He retired in 1973, but in 1990 he returned for a benefit concert for the Opera House in Catalonia. In 1997 he received the Creu de Sant Jordi.

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Posted by on October 9, 2017 in Baritones


MATTEO MANUGUERRA, Baritone * 5 October 1924, Tunis, Tunisia + 25 July 1998, Montpellier, France;

Remembering MATTEO MANUGUERRA on his birthday !

Matteo Manuguerra (5 October 1924 – 25 July 1998) was a Tunisian-born French baritone, one of the leading Verdi baritones of the 1970s.

Manuguerra was born in Tunis, Tunisia, to Italian parents, who later moved to Argentina. He came late to music, starting his vocal study at the age of 35, at the Buenos Aires Music Conservatory, with Umberto Landi. He made his debut as a tenor, in Mozart’s Requiem. He settled in France in 1961, and after new studies, made his debut the following year as a baritone in the role of Valentin in Faust, at the Opéra de Lyon where he was to remain for three years.

Manuguerra made his Paris Opéra debut in 1966, as Rigoletto. He appeared throughout France, and sang on French radio particularly in Verdi operas such as, Nabucco, Ernani, I masnadieri, Luisa Miller, as well as in I vespri siciliani and Don Carlo, both in their original French versions.

After singing widely in Europe, Manuguerra made his American debut in 1968, as Gérard in Andrea Chénier, in Seattle. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut on 11 January 1971 as Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, other roles included Barnaba in La Gioconda, Carlo in La forza del destino, Amonasro in Aida, Alfio in Cavalleria rusticana, Tonio in I Pagliacci, and others. He also appeared at the San Francisco Opera and the Dallas Opera.

Manuguerra had a rich and supple voice enabling him to excel in both belcanto and verismo repertoire, with Verdi being always at the core, which his impressive discography clearly demonstrates.

Matteo Manuguerra enjoyed a long career and was still active when he died suddenly of a heart attack, in Montpellier, France.

Studio recordings[edit]
Rossini – Le barbier de Séville – Jean-Pierre Marty – EMI – 1974
Bellini – I puritani – Riccardo Muti – EMI – 1979
Verdi – Nabucco – Riccardo Muti – EMI – 1977-78
Verdi – I masnadieri – Richard Bonynge – DECCA/LONDON – 1979
Verdi – La battaglia di Legnano – Lamberto Gardelli – PHILLIPS – 1977
Verdi – Stiffelio – Lamberto Gardelli – PHILLIPS – 1979
Verdi – La traviata – Richard Bonynge – DECCA/LONDON – 1979
Verdi – Otello – Alain Lombard – FORLANE – 1991
Massenet – Werther – Michel Plasson – EMI – 1979
Mascagni – Cavalleria rusticana – Riccardo Muti – EMI – 1979
Puccini – La bohème – James Levine – EMI – 1979
Puccini – Tosca – Mstislav Rostropovich – DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON – 1976
Zandonai – Francesca da Rimini – Maurizio Arena – BALKATON – 1987

Tunish-French Baritone – Original Handsigned B/W Photograph

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Posted by on October 5, 2017 in Baritones


PABLO ELVIRA, Baritone * 24 September 1937, San Juan, Puerto Rico + 5 February 2000, Bozeman, Montana, United States;

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Pablo Elvira (September 24, 1937 – February 5, 2000) was a Puerto Rican baritone. Elvira was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and began his musical career playing jazz trumpet there, with his uncle, Rafael Elvira, in his orchestra, he continued in his father’s band and later started his own band who played at the Hotel San Juan. In 1966, he joined the voice faculty of the Indiana University School of Music; during his eight years there he performed baritone roles in many of the school’s opera productions.

In 1974, Elvira made his first appearance with the New York City Opera. He debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in 1978 and performed there over 100 times during the next 12 years in works by Rossini, Donizetti, Verdi, Puccini, Berlioz and Leoncavallo.

Elvira maintained his primary residence in Bozeman, Montana, and was a strong supporter of opera in that state.


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Posted by on September 25, 2017 in Baritones


HERBERT JANSSEN, Baritone * 22 September 1892, Cologne, Germany + 3 June 1965, New York City, New York, United States;

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Herbert Janssen was born into a wealthy, music-loving family of Swedish origin and received his first singing lessons when young. Having studied law at Berlin University and served as an officer in World War I, he subsequently studied singing in Berlin with Oscar Daniel. He was immediately accepted by Max von Schillings for the Berlin State Opera, where he made his debut in 1922 as Herod in Schreker’s Der Schatzgräber. Initially he was assigned smaller parts, but gradually his repertoire expanded: he sang Wolfram / Tannhäuser, the role for which he was to become most renowned, during the 1923–1924 season in Berlin. Other roles included the Count / Le nozze di Figaro, di Luna / Il trovatore, Faninal / Der Rosenkavalier, Gérard / Andrea Chénier, Albert / Werther, Valentin / Faust (Gounod), Don Pizarro / Fidelio, Lothario / Mignon, Renato / Un ballo in maschera, Iago / Otello, Don Carlo / Ernani, Escamillo / Carmen and the title role in Rigoletto..

While remaining with the Berlin State Opera until 1937, Janssen soon started to sing elsewhere. From 1925 he took part regularly in the summer Wagner festival at Zoppot: as Wolfram (1925, 1932), Gunther / Götterdämmerung (1927), Amfortas / Parsifal (1928, 1936), Kothner / Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (1929) and Telramund / Lohengrin (1932). He sang annually in the summer international opera season at the Royal Opera House, London from 1926, undertaking Kurwenal / Tristan und Isolde and Gunther in his first season. He later appeared in important productions of Der fliegende Holländer and Tristan und Isolde at Covent Garden conducted by Reiner and Beecham, also singing Orest / Elektra and in 1935 taking the title role in Borodin’s Prince Igor, for which he was highly praised. During this period he was a guest with the opera companies of Dresden, Munich and Vienna, as well as at Barcelona (1928, 1929), The Hague (1929), the Paris Opera (1931–1934) and La Monnaie, Brussels (1934, 1935).

At the Bayrueth Festival Janssen first appeared in 1930 as Wolfram, with Toscanini conducting. At later festivals he sang Amfortas, Donner / Das Rheingold, Gunther, Kothner and the Herald / Lohengrin. However, having turned down a dinner invitation from Hitler at Bayreuth, Janssen left Germany in 1937 and with Toscanini’s assistance travelled immediately to Buenos Aires. Although he sang with the Vienna State Opera during 1937 and 1938, he then emigrated to the USA, eventually acquiring American citizenship in 1946.

Janssen first appeared in America at the beginning of 1939 in Philadelphia, as the Wanderer / Siegfried with the Metropolitan Opera on tour. He stayed with this company until 1952, predominantly performing his established Wagnerian repertoire. Other occasional roles included Don Fernando / Fidelio, Jochanaan / Salome and The Speaker / Die Zauberflöte. As a result of a shortage of suitable singers, Janssen also took on heavier Wagner parts, to which his voice was less well suited: for example Hans Sachs / Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Wotan / Der Ring des Nibelungen.

From 1940 onwards Janssen sang regularly at Buenos Aires and with the San Francisco Opera between 1945 and 1951. Following his retirement in 1952, he taught singing in New York.

Janssen’s performances were notable for the warm and sympathetic timbre of his voice, his excellent command of legato and clear enunciation, as well as his convincing acting. Also a highly accomplished lieder singer, he had in addition starred in the musical Drei Musketiere at the Metropol Theatre in Berlin during 1928 opposite Göta Ljungberg.

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As Gunther

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Posted by on September 22, 2017 in Baritones


PAUL SCHÖFFLER, Baritone * 15 September 1897, Dresden, Germany + 21 November 1977, Amersham, United Kingdom;

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Paul Schöffler (15 September 1897 – 21 November 1977) was a German operatic baritone, particularly associated with Mozart, Wagner, and Strauss roles.

Born in Dresden, he studied at the Music Conservatory there with Rudolf Schmalmauer and Waldemar Staegemann, and later in Milan with the great Italian baritone Mario Sammarco. He was a member of the Semperoper in Dresden from 1925 to 1937, and then joined the Vienna State Opera. He was also a regular at the Bayreuth Festival and the Salzburg Festival, establishing himself in roles such as Figaro, Don Giovanni, Alfonso, The Speaker of the Temple, Pizarro, Holländer, Wolfram, Kurwenal, Hans Sachs, Wotan, Amfortas and Orest. He took part in the creation of Gottfried von Einem’s Dantons Tod in 1947, and Richard Strauss’s Die Liebe der Danae in 1952, both in Salzburg.

He made guest appearances at the Royal Opera House in London, the Paris Opéra, the Aix-en-Provence Festival, La Scala in Milan, the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, also appearing in San Francisco and Chicago.

He also enjoyed considerable success in a few Italian roles notably Iago and Scarpia, and eventually moved to character roles (Music Teacher, Antonio), singing well into his 70s.

Paul Schöffler died in Amersham, England, aged 80.

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Posted by on September 15, 2017 in Baritones


GÉRARD SOUZAY, Baritone * 8 December 1918, Angers, France + 17 August 2004, Antibes, France;

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Gérard Souzay (Gérard Marcel Tisserand), (born Dec. 8, 1918, Angers, France—died Aug. 17, 2004, Antibes, France), French concert and opera singer who performed in concerts and recitals around the world for more than three decades and made hundreds of recordings; he was best known for his sensitive interpretation of French and German art songs. Souzay, who was possessed of a supple but not large baritone voice, studied at the Paris Conservatoire and gave his first recital in 1945. His first venture into opera, however, was not until 1960; his most successful role was that of Golaud in Claude Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande.

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Posted by on August 18, 2017 in Baritones


JEAN LAFFORNT, Baritone * 17 August 1918, Marseille + Brussels, 26 February 2005, Brussels;

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He completed his musical studies in 1943 at the Conservatoire de Musique in Marseilles, his hometown, with tenor Antonin Trantoul, and joined the Opéra de Marseille in 1945 he excelled in the great Verdi baritone roles in Rigoletto, Aida, Il Trovatore, La Traviata, Otello, Macbeth, Falstaff and Un Ballo in maschera . A noted Scarpia, Tonio and Athanaël in Thaïs , At the Théâtre de la Moinnaie Brussels he sang in Carmen, The Consul, Don Quixote, Faust, Falstaff, The Daughter of Madame Angot, Henry VIII, Herodias, Jeulx of France, The Moon, Macbeth, The Medium, Mireille (both versions, including the one revised by Henri Büsser), Monsieur Beaucaire, The Musketeers at the Convent, Parsifal, La Passion, Pearl Fishers, The Cunning Little Vixen, The King of Ys, Samson and Dalila, Thais, and Tiefland. He also sang in comtemporary works by Marcel Poot, Léon Stekke, Jean Absil, René Defossez, Ernest Bloch and Henri Tomasi.

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Posted by on August 18, 2017 in Baritones

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