Who was the man who taught the legendary tenor and vocal pedagogue Manuel Garcia the Elder the secrets of the Italian School? None other than Giovanni Anzani (Ansani), a tenor who was born in Rome in the mid-18th century, and died in Naples in 1815. Like many singers in his era, he was also a composer. What makes the Garcia - Anzani connection so important? Anzani is thought to have been a student of the greatest singing teacher who ever lived: Nicola Porpora.
Anzani first sang at Copenhagan in 1770, in Holland in 1872, then in London 1782-1784, thereafter singing in Florence before retiring to Naples where he taught singing for the remainder of his life. Some accounts have Anzani living next door to Garcia in 1811, while others have them meeting while singing at Murat's chapel in Naples. Whatever the connection, the rest- as is said- is history.
Dr. Charles Burney, who heard Anzani in London, wrote that the latter possessed one of the most powerful and sweetest voices he ever heard. Burney also noted that Anzani and his wife, Signora Maccherini, were less sweet in hiring a claque to hiss if either received more applause when they appeared in the same opera. Ah! The life in the theatre! One wonders if they knew exactly what they were doing.