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Fernando De Lucia (1860 - 1925)


Fernando de Lucia first caused a sensation as a singer during his military service at Caserta. He went on to study music at the Naples Conservatory, initially focusing upon the bassoon and double-bass before moving to voice as a pupil of Vincenzo Lombardi and Beniamino Carelli. He made his debut in 1885 at the Teatro San Carlo, Naples as Gounod’s Faust; and after engagements in Bologna and Florence sang in Linda di Chamounix, L’elisir d’amore and Fra Diavolo in Madrid during 1887. He was subsequently engaged to sing Alfredo / La traviata at the Drury Lane Theatre, London (1887), but made little impact. At the Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires he appeared in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette and in La sonnambula during the 1889–1890 season, and in 1890 sang Don José / Carmen in Naples.

Paradoxically de Lucia’s breakthrough occurred in a completely new repertoire, that of verismo, when he sang Fritz opposite Emma Calvé in the world premiere of Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz in Rome during October 1891. He went on to capitalise on the mania for this new operatic style, taking part in several later Mascagni premieres: I Rantzau (Florence, 1892 with Battistini), Silvana (Milan, 1895) and Iris (Rome, 1898). In addition he sang Canio / Pagliacci at Naples (1893) and participated in the premieres of Mugnone’s Vita Bretone (Naples, 1905) and Giordano’s Marcella (Milan, 1907).

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