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Salvatore Baccaloni (1900 - 1969)

Baccaloni joined the choir of the Sistine Chapel when he was seven, but when his voice broke at fifteen he turned from music to architecture, graduating from Rome’s Academy of Fine Arts. After hearing him sing privately however, in 1920 the baritone Giuseppe Kaschmann invited Baccaloni to study with him and two years later he made his début at the Teatro Adriano in Rome as Dr Bartolo/Il barbiere di Siviglia. During the next four years Baccaloni sang in Italy’s numerous smaller opera houses. Toscanini heard him in Louise at Bologna in 1926 and invited him to sing at La Scala, Milan, where he made his début in Pizzetti’s Debora e Jaele (1926). It was Toscanini, too, who urged Baccaloni, given his fine voice, musicality and comic skills, to concentrate upon the buffo rôles rather than the full bass repertoire which he had sung until 1930. Baccaloni now took up such parts as Dr Dulcamara/L’elisir d’amore, Leporello/Don Giovanni and the title rôles of Don Pasquale and Falstaff; and so successful was he that in 1934 he was made a Knight of the Crown of Italy. Until 1940 he remained as an important principal at La Scala, where he also took part in several first performances, including Giordano’s Il re (1929) and Wolf-Ferrari’s Il campiello (1936) and La dama boba (1939).




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