December 12, 2009

Mattia Battistini: King of Baritones and Baritone of Kings

A friend, knowing that I have a thing for anything to do with bel canto singing, recently sent me notice of a program being given at the Wagner Society of New York on December 9th, which, to my dismay, I could not attend because of a prior commitment. 

What, or rather, who, was on the program?

Jacques Chuilon, a voice teacher, artist, and author of a book on the great bel canto baritone Mattia Battistini (Battistini Le Dernier Divo), was presenting the newly published, translated and retitled book- Mattia Battistini: King of Baritones and Baritone of Kings.  This edition has a forward by Thomas Hampson as well as a companion CD. 







A day after the event, my thoughtful friend called with a full report: the author gave a captivating lecture along with Battistini's granddaughter!  I was so sorry to have missed the program, but at least I can order the book.  

"This book is indispensable for all singers and lovers of the "lost" bel canto tradition. In this biography of one of the consummate masters of singing, Mattia Battistini, Chuilon has lovingly collected every possible piece of information about this "glory of Italy," analyzed it, sorted it, and now in this English version, made it possible for a new generation of opera lovers to understand how this singer was so important to the success of Verdi and Massenet, to Wagner and Saint-Saëns, among so many others. The restored musical excerpts on the enclosed CD, and the thorough analysis of Battistini's vocal technique and career, make it a valuable reference work, and a source of inspiration musically and aesthetically." —Thomas Hampson, The Metropolitan Opera 

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