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Mattia Battistini (1856 - 1928)

Battistini was born into a prosperous family of physicians and received a classical education at private schools. Though he showed musical promise, his family wished him to pursue medicine or law as a career. To the dismay of his mother however, he studied singing instead, firstly with Emilio Terziani and later with Venceslao Persichini, who also taught Titta Ruffo and Giuseppe De Luca. He was also a pupil of the conductor Luigi Mancinelli and the composer Augusto Rotoli. Battistini’s operatic début came with Alfonso/La favorita in December 1878 at Rome’s Teatro Argentina and during the next three years he toured Italy, singing in a broad repertoire that included Amonasro/Aida, di Luna/Il trovatore, Don Carlo/Ernani, Riccardo/I puritani and the title rôle in Rigoletto. He spent most of 1881 touring thoughout South America, scoring success on his return as Figaro/Il barbiere di Siviglia in Barcelona and Madrid: his international career was now launched. In 1883 Battistini first appeared at Covent Garden, singing opposite legendary figures of the golden age such as Patti, Sembrich and Edouard de Reszke; not surprisingly little attention was paid to him on this occasion. During 1888 he made his début at La Scala, Milan, as Nelusko/L’Africaine, and travelled again to South America (for the last time, due to his horror of sea travel).




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