Giacomo Lauri-Volpi is one of the most celebrated tenors in history, encompassing a wide-ranging repertoire and lengthy career.
Lauri-Volpi, born on Dec. 11, 1892, was born in Lanuvio, Italy and found himself an orphan at just 11 years of age. From there he would build himself up under baritone Antonio Cotogni, and eventually find international acclaim. His career is one filled with fascination and here are some of the most interesting facts you didn’t know about this consummate artist.
1. He served the Italian armed forces during World War I, putting his career on hold as it was just getting started.
2. He made his operatic debut as Arturo in “I Puritani” in 1919 in Viterbo, Italy at the age of 27. During his debut, he performed under the name of Giacomo Rubini, in honor of Bellini’s favorite tenor Giovani Battista Rubini.
3. He was a leading tenor at the Metropolitan Opera, making 307 appearances between 1923 and 1933. While there, he gave six operas their Met premieres, including “Anima Allegra,” “Le Roi de Lahore,” “Giovanni Gallurese,” “Turandot,” “Luisa Miller,” and “La Notte di Zoraima.”
4. Of all his Met roles, he performed the Duke of Mantua from “Rigoletto” with the greatest regularity. In sum, he appeared 36 times in the role, more than any other. He made his Met debut with that opera on Jan. 26, 1923, and also gave his penultimate Met performance with the same work on March 13, 1933. His final Met appearance was in “Pagliacci” one day later.
5. His final public performance came in 1959 when he portrayed Manrico in “Il Trovatore” in Rome.
6. Aside from an astounding recorded legacy, he also wrote several books, including “Voci Parallele,” “L’Equivoco, Cosi è, e non vi pare,” and “Aviso Aperto.”
Listen to his glorious voice below.