Tito Gobbi

“Gobbi belonged to that special breed, who so combine singing and acting that they become inseparable – the complete art form demanded by opera at its sublime best.”

– Michael Langdon, Opera

Great Interpreters: Tito Gobbi
Broadcast on Fine Music Radio on 25 October 2013.

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Tito Gobbi was one of the great iconic voices of the 20th Century and the leading operatic baritone of his era. His interpretations of the buffa roles of Figaro, Gianni Schicci and Falstaff, the famous Verdi roles for baritone – Rigoletto, Nabucco, Macbeth and Iago in Otello, and most especially his portrayal of Scarpia in Puccini’s Tosca, have become the stuff of legend. During his long and distinghuised career, which spanned more than 40 years, he performed in the foremost opera houses of the world, alongside artists of the calibre of Maria Callas, Beniamino Gigli, his brother-in-law Boris Christoff, Zinka Milanov and collaborated with conductors of the likes of Tullio Serafin and Herbert von Karajan.

In 1984, Sir John Tooley wrote in Opera magazine: “Tito was one of the most exceptional artists of our times… for his deep understanding of the character, the diligence in his research, the acute observation of human nature… All this was fused into a voice that he could colour to illuminate the text and the thoughts and feelings of the character which he was both playing and living. Tito’s contribution to the development of opera and to its growth as a vital and living art form is beyond doubt.”

Tito Gobbi was without a doubt the greatest singing actor of the 20th century. He was not only the complete operatic artist in terms of his concerns for singing and acting but, like Callas, he became the ultimate exponent in the rarer art of acting with the voice, leading the legendary EMI producer Walter Legge, to refer to him as “The Acting Voice.”

In this podcast, Adriaan Fuchs examines the artistry, the life and voice of baritone Tito Gobbi.

Podcast Track List

1) “Largo al factotum” from Act I of Il barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini)
Tito Gobbi (baritone)
Philharmonia Orchestra
Conductor: Alceo Galliera
Recorded: 1958

2) “Per me giunto è il dì supremo” from Act IV of Don Carlo (Verdi)
Tito Gobbi (Rodrigo)
Rome Opera Orchestra
Conductor: Gabriele Santini
Recorded: 1954

3) “Di Provenza il mar” from Act II of La traviata (Verdi)
Tito Gobbi (Giorgio Germont)
Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala di Milano
Conductor: Tullio Serafin
Recorded: 1956

4) “Come Paride vezzoso” from Act I of L’elisir d’amore (Donizetti)
Tito Gobbi
Orchestra e Coro del Teatro dell’Opera di Roma
Conductor: Gabriele Santini
Recorded: 1953

5) “Come due tizzi accessi” from Act I of L’arlesiana (Cilea)
Tito Gobbi (baritone)
Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala di Milano
Conductor: Umberto Berrettoni
Recorded: 1942

6) “Soffriva nel pianto” to “Se tradirmi tu potrai” from Act II, Scene I of Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti)
Tito Gobbi (baritone, Enrico)
Maria Callas (soprano, Lucia)
Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
Conductor: Tullio Serafin
Recorded: 1953

7) “Non piu andrai” from Act I of Le nozze di Figaro (Mozart)
Tito Gobbi (Figaro)
Philharmonia Orchestra
Conductor: James Robertson
Recorded: 1950

8) “Dunque il son” from Act I of Il barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini)
Tito Gobbi (Figaro)
Maria Callas (Rosina)
Philharmonia Orchestra
Conductor: Alceo Galliera
Recorded: 1957

9) “Ha piu forte sapore” from Act II of Tosca (Puccini)
Tito Gobbi (Scarpia)
Maria Callas (Floria Tosca)
Orchestra del Teatro all Scala di Milano
Conductor: Victor de Sabata
Recorded: 1953

10) “Salvatelo!… Io?… Voi!” to before “Vissi d’arte” from Act II of Tosca (Puccini)
Tito Gobbi (Scarpia)
Maria Callas (Floria Tosca)
Orchestra del Teatro all Scala di Milano
Conductor: Victor de Sabata
Recorded: 1953

11) “Vedi, le man giunte io stendo a te!” to the end of Act II of Tosca (Puccini)
Tito Gobbi (Scarpia)
Maria Callas (Floria Tosca)
Orchestra del Teatro all Scala di Milano
Conductor: Victor de Sabata
Recorded: 1953

12) “Tre sbirri, una carrozza” (Te Deum) from Act I of Tosca (Puccini)
Tito Gobbi (Scarpia)
Coro e Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala di Milano
Conductor: Victor de Sabata
Recorded: 1953

13) “Dinne… Figlia! A tal nome palpito” from Act I of Simone Boccanegra (Verdi)
Tito Gobbi (Simon Boccanegra)
Victoria de los Angeles (Maria Boccanegra)
Orchestra del Teatro dell’Opera di Roma
Conductor: Gabriele Santini
Recorded: 1958

14) “Pari siamo” from Act I of Rigoletto (Verdi)
Tito Gobbi (Rigoletto)
Coro e Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala di Milano
Conductor: Tullio Serafin
Recorded: 1956

15) “Cortigiani, vil razza dannata” from Act II of Rigoletto (Verdi)
Tito Gobbi (Rigoletto)
Renato Ercolani (Matteo Borsa)
William Dickie (Cavaliere Marullo)
Carlo Forti (Count Ceprano)
Luisa Mandelli (Page of the Duchess)
Coro e Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala di Milano
Conductor: Tullio Serafin
Recorded: 1956

16) “Vanne!… Credo in un Dio crudel” from Act II of Otello (Verdi)
Tito Gobbi (Iago)
Philharmonia Orchestra
Conductor: Alberto Erede
Recorded: 1964

17) “L’Onore! Ladri!” from Act I of Falstaff (Verdi)
Tito Gobbi (Falstaff)
Philharmonia Orchestra
Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
Recorded: 1957

18) “Ah, prigioniero io sono… Dio di Giuda!” from Act IV of Nabucco (Verdi)
Tito Gobbi (Nabucco)
Orchestra del Teatro dell’Opera di Roma
Conductor: Oliviero de Fabritiis
Recorded: 1959

Videos

“Cortigiani, vil razza dannata” from Act II of Rigoletto (Verdi)

Act II of Tosca (Puccini)
Maria Callas (Floria Tosca)
Renato Cioni (Mario Cavaradossi)
Tito Gobbi (Scarpia)
Robert Bowman (Spoletta)
Dennis Wicks (Sciarrone)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Conductor: Carlo Felice Cillario
Recorded: 1964

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