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You should know Bastianini, Bonisolli, Corelli.

Opera's studs

Had it not been for his cancer, Bastianini would be considered one of the greatest singers of all time.
Had it not been for his cancer, Bastianini would be considered one of the greatest singers of all time.

An insurmountable mountain of facts proves that we are living in the best period of known human history. Maybe things were better in pre-history when the aliens were here, but from infant mortality rates to murder rates to diseases (even considering Covid) to world poverty levels, things have never been better.

Video:

Ettore Bastianini sings

The Prologo of <em>Il Pagliacci</em>

The Prologo of Il Pagliacci

Even for the U.S. middle-class, a group that has become infected with the idea of being victimized, things have become better. In the 1950s the typical size of a new home was 950 square feet. In the 1960s it was 1100. Since the 2000s the typical size of a new home has been about 2300 square feet – almost two-and-a-half times larger.

Despite our quality of life, there is one area that isn’t close to the quality of the past. That area is opera singers.

I previously wrote about three female opera singers of the past. Here are three male singers that all opera singers should know. These singers were world famous but have faded into obscurity.

Video:

Bonisolli

"La donna e mobile"

"La donna e mobile"

Baritone Ettore Bastianini made his Metropolitan Opera first appearance in 1953 and debuted at La Scala in 1954. In 1962 he was diagnosed with a throat tumor that turned out to be cancerous. He died of cancer in 1967. For ten years, roughly 1953-1963, nobody was better in the great Italian baritone roles such as Rigoletto, Amanastro in Aida, and Scarpia in Tosca.

The voice was golden from top to bottom, but it was his top notes that were most impressive. His high notes remained focused and were never overblown. Had it not been for his cancer, Bastianini would be considered one of the greatest singers of all time.

Video:

Franco Corelli in Parma - Tosca

"E lucevan le stelle" (English subtitles)

"E lucevan le stelle" (English subtitles)

Nicknamed Il pazzo (the madman), Franco Bonisolli had a crazy voice and the personality to go with it. He once threw his sword into the orchestra pit during a rehearsal. The conductor, none other than Herbert von Karajan, replaced Bonisolli with Placido Domingo. Vocally, Domingo cannot come close to Bonisolli’s high notes but sometimes it isn’t just about the singing.

Bonisolli made his American debut in 1965 as Alfredo in Verdi’s *La Traviata. Believe it or not, it was with San Diego Opera. Opposite him, as Violetta was none other than Montserrat Caballé. It’s safe to say that all subsequent “Traviatas at San Diego Opera have been less impressive.

The voice and the personality leaped off the stage when Bonisolli performed. Look no further than the live performance of “La Donna e Mobile” on YouTube with Bonisolli skipping across the stage and jumping at the end of his tremendous high B. This was considered bad form by many but I love it.

The only singer whose high notes can compare to Franco Bonisolli is Franco Corelli. Corelli is simply the best tenor ever to sing roles such as Don Jose in Carmen, Manrico in Il Trovatore, Calaf in Turandot and Cavaradossi in Tosca.

There is a live recording of Corelli signing Cavaradossi in Parma, Italy in 1967. It is the greatest singing by any singer of any voice type ever recorded and, judging by their response, the live audience agrees. They went wild every time Corelli had an aria or a high note.

The entire performance is available on YouTube.

Video:

Franco Corelli's Tosca

Entire opera (1967 Parma live, remastered)

Entire opera (1967 Parma live, remastered)

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Had it not been for his cancer, Bastianini would be considered one of the greatest singers of all time.
Had it not been for his cancer, Bastianini would be considered one of the greatest singers of all time.

An insurmountable mountain of facts proves that we are living in the best period of known human history. Maybe things were better in pre-history when the aliens were here, but from infant mortality rates to murder rates to diseases (even considering Covid) to world poverty levels, things have never been better.

Video:

Ettore Bastianini sings

The Prologo of <em>Il Pagliacci</em>

The Prologo of Il Pagliacci

Even for the U.S. middle-class, a group that has become infected with the idea of being victimized, things have become better. In the 1950s the typical size of a new home was 950 square feet. In the 1960s it was 1100. Since the 2000s the typical size of a new home has been about 2300 square feet – almost two-and-a-half times larger.

Despite our quality of life, there is one area that isn’t close to the quality of the past. That area is opera singers.

I previously wrote about three female opera singers of the past. Here are three male singers that all opera singers should know. These singers were world famous but have faded into obscurity.

Video:

Bonisolli

"La donna e mobile"

"La donna e mobile"

Baritone Ettore Bastianini made his Metropolitan Opera first appearance in 1953 and debuted at La Scala in 1954. In 1962 he was diagnosed with a throat tumor that turned out to be cancerous. He died of cancer in 1967. For ten years, roughly 1953-1963, nobody was better in the great Italian baritone roles such as Rigoletto, Amanastro in Aida, and Scarpia in Tosca.

The voice was golden from top to bottom, but it was his top notes that were most impressive. His high notes remained focused and were never overblown. Had it not been for his cancer, Bastianini would be considered one of the greatest singers of all time.

Video:

Franco Corelli in Parma - Tosca

"E lucevan le stelle" (English subtitles)

"E lucevan le stelle" (English subtitles)

Nicknamed Il pazzo (the madman), Franco Bonisolli had a crazy voice and the personality to go with it. He once threw his sword into the orchestra pit during a rehearsal. The conductor, none other than Herbert von Karajan, replaced Bonisolli with Placido Domingo. Vocally, Domingo cannot come close to Bonisolli’s high notes but sometimes it isn’t just about the singing.

Bonisolli made his American debut in 1965 as Alfredo in Verdi’s *La Traviata. Believe it or not, it was with San Diego Opera. Opposite him, as Violetta was none other than Montserrat Caballé. It’s safe to say that all subsequent “Traviatas at San Diego Opera have been less impressive.

The voice and the personality leaped off the stage when Bonisolli performed. Look no further than the live performance of “La Donna e Mobile” on YouTube with Bonisolli skipping across the stage and jumping at the end of his tremendous high B. This was considered bad form by many but I love it.

The only singer whose high notes can compare to Franco Bonisolli is Franco Corelli. Corelli is simply the best tenor ever to sing roles such as Don Jose in Carmen, Manrico in Il Trovatore, Calaf in Turandot and Cavaradossi in Tosca.

There is a live recording of Corelli signing Cavaradossi in Parma, Italy in 1967. It is the greatest singing by any singer of any voice type ever recorded and, judging by their response, the live audience agrees. They went wild every time Corelli had an aria or a high note.

The entire performance is available on YouTube.

Video:

Franco Corelli's Tosca

Entire opera (1967 Parma live, remastered)

Entire opera (1967 Parma live, remastered)

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