The Art of Galliano Masini

Artist Galliano Masini
Title The Art of Galliano Masini
Release Date Saturday, September 30, 2006
Genre Classical > Aria
Composers Giuseppe Verdi, Amilcare Ponchielli, Francesco Cilea, Umberto Giordano, Giacomo Puccini, Pietro Mascagni, Gaetano Donizetti
Songwriter Diverse
Copyright © Preiser Records

Promotion Text

Lebendige Vergangenheit

On February 7th 1896 Galliano Masini was born in Livorno as the third of four children of a family from very modest circumstances. Already in his early youth his unruly character became evident which forced his mother to take her son out of school and find an appropriate job for him. Masini soon joined the choir association "Costanza e Concordia" and attracted general attention in a performance of "Lodoletta" by Mascagni, although he did not have more than a phrase to sing. After an audition for Mascagni and some encouraging words from the composer Masini started to take lessons from the former tenor Angelo Bendinelli in Livorno. He soon moved to Milan where he continued to study with Giovanni Laura and was employed at the famous agency "D'Ormeville e Tavernari". On December 24th 1924, after ot even one year of studying, Galliano Masini made his stage debut at the Teatro Goldoni in Livorno as Cavaradossi, at this time the only role which he knew in its entirety. The beauty and the impressive size of this new singer's voice paired with a spontaneous and, for a beginner, remarkably mature performance on stage were greatly admired by the tenor's countrymen. This debut was followed by further six performances as Cavaradossi at the Teatro A. Masini in Faenza and at the Politeama Banchini di Prato he was finally given his first chance to establish himself opposite two other equivalent newcomers: Iva Pacetti and Giuseppina Cobelli. The press became attentive and praised his voice as an "extraordinary potential which can only be found among few of the really great tenors". In the course of the first two years of his career Masini added "La boheme", "Madame Butterfly", ''La traviata", "L'amico Fritz" and "Lucia di Lammermoor" to his repertory. Tue composer, Riccardo Zandonai, already preferred him to all other tenors and repeatedly conducted his performances in "Giuletta e Romeo", "Giuliano" and "Francesca da Rimini". Five years after his debut Masini had made himself known all around Italy and undertook his first tour abroad in spring/summer 1930. In South America the impresario Ciro Ragazzini did not hesitate to cast hirrt together with celebrities such as Giuseppina Cobelli, Gilda Dalla Rizza, Carlo Galeffi, Tancredi Pasero and Titta Ruffo. On May 25th of the same year the tenor made his debut at the Teatro Colon in "Cavalleria rusticana" where he enjoyed an exceptional success with the audience but even more so with the critics. In December he appeared for the first time at the Teatro Reale dell'Opera di Roma in "Lucia" which led to a continuous artistic collaboration until his last appearances in 1951 as Andrea Chenier. On March 19th 1932, two years later, Galliano Masini made his debut at Milan's Scala as Pinkerton in "Madama Butterfly" with Gilda Dalla Rizza in the title role. Inspite of the great success and further performances in the years 1933, 1934, 1936, 1940, 1943 and 1946 during the summer season at the Palazzo dello Sport, La Scala never was an artistic home to him. One may suspect that one explanation was his sometimes difficult character, health problems also might have played a significant part: at this time Masini began to suffer from a disturbance of the polmonary function which, especially during the winter months, greatly affected his voice; however, Masini sang his best performances in other houses, mainly during the summer. In the meantime, his field of action had moved more and more towards the "spinto" repertoire. Luckily, recordings from "Adriana Lecouvreur" and "Fedora" have been preserved. They confirm that the singer's trumpet-like sound and his marvellous "squillo" ideally suited the demands of this music and that Masini rightly can be counted among its most significant interpreters. At least until 1938 the tenor continued to sing also lyric roles: apart from "Lucia", "Rigoletto" and "La traviata" he also appeared in "Faust", "Lodoletta" and "Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg" (1934 at La Scala with E. Badini, A. Beuf and T. Pasero) all over the world. Together with great colleagues such as Lily Pons, Gina Cigna, Toti Dal Monte, Mafalda Favero, Carlo Galeffi, Riccardo Straccari, Ezio Pinza and many more Masini was celebrated by both audience and critics. He appeared in Barcelona at the Gran Teatro del Liceo, at the Vienna State Opera, in Cairo, Budapest, Lausanne and Rio de Janeiro. In 1955 he added the part of Otello to his repertory which consisted of over 44 roles. On June 28th 1957 the tenor gave his farewell performance at the Teatro Coldoni in Livomo where 33 years earlier his career had taken its course. Galliano Masini spent the last years of his life in his hometown, Livomo, where he died on February 15th 1986. Although Masini's discography is relatively small it represents well this singer's qualities. "La forza del destino" and "I pagliacci" have been recorded in their entirety, Columbia and Cetra have each published a selection of operatic arias. In addition to four songs for HMV Masini has recorded songs from three or four films. The recitals show the tenor in a wide spectrum of roles such as Cav adossi, Radames, Enzo in "La Gioconda", Loris, Turiddu, etc. where, although he fails to impress with vocal perfection and refined singing, one is captured by the singer's very own spontaneity and his radiant and imposing tenor voice. Galliano Masini's interpretations do explain his popularity, especially in Italy, and guarantee him a place among the great tenors of his time.