Apollo Granforte had one of the truest baritones for my liking. Rich, nuanced, every word understood and given gorgeous color and meaning. These clips are included also to show how great the orchestras were in those days, for the knowledge of how it is played, also the perfect body of every note, cleanly played, and “hearable”. So much is glossed over in robot like speed today with orchestra’s always playing actually too fast, this is a rare chance to hear the music closer to when it was written.
Here follows a little info on this great singer.
Apollo Granforte (1886 – 1975)
Born into a poor family he worked as a cobbler until he was 18. He moved to Argentinia with his brother. There he worked in his trade he had learnt, but soon his vocal capabilities were discovered, and he concentrated on singing.
He enrolled as a student at The Buenos Aires Conservatory and studied for nine years! In 1913 he made his debut as Germon-père at the Opera of Santa Fe. Subsequently he sang at various opera houses in South America.
At the beginning of the war, he returned to Italy to fight at the front for Italy. In 1916 he appeared at The Teatro Costanzi in Rome and at The Teatro da Verme in Milan. In 1921 he was engaged to La Scala, and stayed there as a member until 1939.
He frequently appeared as a guest artist in Paris. Nellie Melba chose him for an Australia tour with her own troup, he was also a guest at London Covent Garden. He took part in several Wagner operas, in roles such as Wotan, Kurwenal, Telramund and The Wanderer.
He also succeeded as Jochanaan and Boris Godunov. After retiring he became a singing coach in Ankara. For a brief span he was also the director of the National Theatre in Prague. Afterwards he returned to Italy where he became a sought-after advisor on all matters related to singing.
The Trovatore clip, listen to the chorus as well. They are amazing, every word and note is clear.
The Rigoletto, at unusally slow tempi still catches fire because of his tone and denunciation.
and for sheer beauty and singing quality.