Jeff Smith 4 p.m., Aug. 28
Tale of Two Tenors
For anyone not paying close attention, there was only one Italian tenor during the 70's, 80's, and 90's.
Pavarotti may have had the most beautiful voice ever produced and his technique was flawless.
Every note he sang was consistent in tone and quality with the previous. He was a pretty sound machine.
What Pavarotti lacked was drama, both on the stage and in his voice. Since every note was the same, he couldn't make a dramatic choice with the color of his singing.
His stage presence was corpulent.
There were other Italian tenors during this period. Giuseppe Giacomini and Nicola Martinucci were both plangent, dramatic tenors.
Franco Bonisolli was a vocal force of nature with a personality to match.
Bonisolli began his opera life as a lyric tenor and his American debut was at San Diego Opera as Alfredo in La Traviata.
He grew into a big boy tenor and sang all the heavy repertoire including Otello.
However, his antics got the better of him.
At Vienna State Opera during a public rehearsal of Il Trovatore he became frustrated and threw his sword into the pit. He was replaced in that production by Placido Domingo.
San Diego thought it was an anathema when Jose Cura tossed a rubber chicken into the pit during a curtain call for Pagliacci.
In spite of his personal short comings, the voice was magnificent and exciting. His stage presence was electric and unpredictable. Bonisolli was the anti-Pavarotti.
Both these tenors were a step back from the previous generation. Pavarotti lacked dramatic intention, Bonisolli was called Il Pazzo, the crazy man.
This Youtube link of Bonisolli demonstrates everything that he was. The vocals are unmatched as are the antics. I like the antics and wish more opera singers were like this but I'm in the minority.