13 January 2016

Carlo Tagliabue – opera singer

Powerful performer remembered for his Don Carlo

A leading Italian baritone in the middle of the last century, Carlo Tagliabue was born on this day in 1898 in Mariano Comense near Como in Lombardy.

Tagliabue became well known for his roles in Verdi operas
Carlo Tagliabue
He particularly excelled in Verdi roles at the height of his career and continued to perform on stage and make recordings when he was well into his fifties.

After studying in Milan, Tagliabue made his debut on stage at a theatre in Lodi in 1922 singing Amonasro, King of Ethiopia, in Aida.

He went on to sing in Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, when it was performed in Italian at theatres in Genoa, Turin , Milan , Rome and Naples.

He later became known for his performances in Verdi operas, particularly La forza del destino, Rigoletto, La traviata, Nabucco and Otello and he was consistently praised for the power of his voice.

Tagliabue is also remembered for creating the role of Basilio in the world premiere of Respighi’s La fiamma in 1934.

Listen to Carlo Tagliabue sing Di provenza il mar from Verdi's La Traviata

He went on to sing in Buenos Aires, New York, San Francisco and London but his final performance was in 1955 on the stage of La Scala in Milan as Don Carlo in La forza del destino, singing alongside Maria Callas playing Donna Leonora.

Tagliabue retired to teach in 1958 and died at the age of 80 in Monza in 1978.

More opera -- Giacomo Puccini, born 22 December, 1858.

More music -- Death of violin maker Antonio Stradivari, 18 December, 1737

Travel tip:
The Villa Olmo, an 18th century house set in magnificent grounds, is open to the public
The Villa Olmo in Como
Photo: Geobia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Como, to the north of Mariano Comense, the small town where Tagliabue was born, is right on the edge of Lake Como and a popular tourist destination with palaces, museums, parks and theatres to visit. There is an 18th century house, the Villa Olmo, which is set in magnificent grounds are open to the public and there is a 13th century town hall, known as the Broletto, striped in pink, white and grey, with a pretty balcony that was used for addressing the people.

Travel tip:

Lodi, where Tagliabue made his stage debut, is an historic city south east of Milan that was ruled by the Visconti family in the 15th century. There are still remains of the castle they built there but one of the main attractions is the Church of the Beata Vergine Incoronata, near Piazza della Vittoria, Lodi’s main square, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful Renaissance buildings in Lombardy.


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