Here follows a picture-galleries of many of the greatest Spanish or Portuguese speaking Opera-singers on record
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The fine baritone EMILIO DE GOGORZA (1874-1935) was born in Brooklyn to Spanish parents. Married to Emma Eames, he performed more on the concert platform than in Opera, but was one of the earliest important Gramophone artists (under various pseudonyms, such as Sig. Francisco as well as his own name), recording from 1900 right on into the electric era. Indeed, early on he worked almost (in modern jargon) as a sort of A&R man for Victor.
The huge-voiced Spanish bass, JOSÉ MARDONES (1869-1932) enjoyed a long career in Europe and the USA alike. His Columbia records are still relatively easy to acquire today.
The Spanish bass ANDRES DE SEGUROLA (1873-1953) made his biggest reputation at The Metropolitan, creating Puccini roles such as Jake in LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST and Nicolao in GIANNI SCHICCHI. It was his hoarseness in LA BOHEME that led Caruso to sing the Coat Song one celebrated night. After retiring from the stage in 1923, he went on to appear in films and teach singing in Hollywood.
The Spanish mezzo, Maria Gay (1879-1943) enjoyed a high reputation especially in the role of CARMEN. She recorded acoutically for Columbia but her recording of the Carmen finale with her husband, the great tenor Giovanni Zenatello is not only electric but electrifying!
Despite Gay’s reputation, surely the greatest CARMEN of them all was the delightful Spanish mezzo, CONCHITA SUPERVIA (1895-1936) whose excerpts from the role dating from around 1930 still define how to sing the role. She was also , however, an accomplished Rossini singer and recitalist. Cruelly, she died in childbirth. Her tremolo-tinged voice is quite unique and thrilling whilst her records are easily acquired and all desirable. Indeed, she stamped her personality into the grooves just as effectively as other such legends as Caruso and Chaliapin. She was a great artist.
(The second picture shows her as Hansel)
MARIA GALVANY (1876-1949) enjoyed an international career and was renowned for her brilliant coloratura technique. She recorded and performed often (G&T, HMV, Pathé and Edison), alongside the best in the world including Titta Ruffo. Nevertheless, some of her staccato effects sound almost comic to modern ears.
Before she became a vocal-teacher, MARIA BARRIENTOS (1883-1946) was one of the most renowned coloratura sopranos in the world, her presence at The Metropolitan, for instance, even delaying Galli-Curci’s debut there and partnering all the greatest singers there, including Caruso. She recorded first on Fonotipia around 1905, then as one of the stars on the Columbia label, finally even recording a famous series of electrics for them; songs of De Falla accompanied by the composer in the late 20s. Many of these records are still easily acquired.
Here are two pictures of the charming Spanish lyric-soprano LUCREZIA BORI (1887-1960). The Metropolitan was her main centre of operation for almost a quarter of a century and her recordings of Puccini arias especially (on electric Victors) are just about the definitive versions.
The beautiful Brazilian lyric-soprano BIDU SAYAO (1902-199?) was a feature at The Metropolitan for 15 years. A sensitive artist, she enjoyed a very long life.
Hailing form Spain, FRANCESCO VIGNAS (né Francesco Viñas 1863-1933), here seen as Radames in AIDA, was an heroic tenor of the highest class. His Fonotipias are not that rare and well worth finding if you can.
Possibly one of the most underrated tenors on record is FLORENCIO CONSTANTINO (1869-1919). His singing style bridged the bel canto and verismo schools of opera and he was an artist of the very highest calibre. He sang in Europe, South America and the USA, but, like so many others of his time, lived uder the shadow of Caruso. Luckily for posterity, he recorded prolifically for Pathé, Victor and Columbia. Collectors are well advised to seek out his records.
The Spanish tenor MIGUEL FLETA (1893?-1938) was a tenor whose potential was perhaps not fulfilled due to lack of training perhaps and overstraining the voice too soon, for his fine voice soon developed a distressing wobble in the higher register. Nevertheless, his earliest records on HMV or Victor are well worth acquiring. Tragically too, he died young.
The Spaniard ANTONIO CORTIS (1891-1952), here as Alfredo in LA TRAVIATA was one of the great tenors who rivalled the supremacy of Italians such as Gigli or Lauri-Volpi during the 20s and 30s. He was a lyrico-spinto of the highest class as his HMV recordings amply demonstrate, especially in Puccini.
Here FRANCESCO D’ANDRADE looks almost playful as the tragic RIGOLETTO.