Greatest Opera Singers

Greatest Opera Singers

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Florencio Constantino (Tenor) (Bilbao, Spain 1869 - Mexico City 1919)

                                                        Raoul in ‘’Huguenots’’

                                               Turiddu in ''Cavalleria Rusticana''

                                                           Faust in ''Faust''

He immigrated to Argentina in 1889. The violinist Palazuelos heard him sing in 1892 and advised him to study privately. Later, Constantino went to Buenos Aires and started vocal studies in 1895 with Leopoldo Stiattesi. Constantino made his debut in Montevideo at the Téatro Solìs in La Dolores on February 7 1896. Shortly after he sang the same work in Buenos Aires at the Teatro Odeón. He went to La Plata, where he sang his first Italian opera Lucia di Lammermoor on May 1, 1896 at the Téatro Argentino. During his stay in La Plata, Constantino added La Gioconda and Cavalleria Rusticana to his repertory. During the year 1896, he went to Italy. He made his Italian debut in Cremona in Manon on January 2, 1897 at the Teatro Ponchielli. This was followed by appearances in Napoli and Acqui. Constantino accepted an engagement to sing in several cities in Holland in 1897-1898: Dordrecht, The Hague, Haarlem, Breda, Utrecht, Amsterdam, Leyden, and Rotterdam,. He returned to Italy in 1898, singing during April in Livorno (Ernani and La Favorita at the Teatro Goldoni). From there, Constantino traveled to Minsk for a concert and then back to Italy, making his reappearance in Napoli in Lucia di Lammermoor on July 12, 1898 at the Téatro Bellini. He was favorably received and added to his Neapolitan appearances La Traviata (July 19), La Favorita (July 27). He met similar success in Verona (Rigoletto), Casale-Monferrato (Rigoletto), Ferrara (La Bohème, Edmea), Florence (La Bohème), Figlene val del Arno, Reggio Emilia, Cagliari, Monza and Rimini (Mefistofele). From Italy, Constantino traveled to Madrid, where made his debut on November 14, 1899 as the Duke in Rigoletto with Darclée, Blanchart and Campanini conducting. On November 19, Constantino sang in La Gioconda with Luisa Tetrazzini, Virginia Guerrini, Blanchart and Campanini. He made in debut in Les Huguenots on December 2 with Darclée, Lavìn, Rubio, Blanchart and Campanini. This was followed by Mefistofele (December 20 with Tetrazzini, Riera and Campanini), Lohengrin (January 6, 1900, with De Lerma, Guerrini, Blanchart, Rossi and Campanini). Constantino participated in the world premiere of Raquel on January 20th with De Lerma, Dahlander, Butti and Bretín conducting. He ended his first season in Madrid with La Bohème on February 28th with Tetrazzini, Rubio, Butti, Riera and Campanini. From Madrid, Constantino went to Lisboa, where he made his debut March 18, 1900 in Rigoletto with Sammarco and Amelia de Roma with Arnaldo Conti conducting. This followed by La Bohème and another Rigoletto. Constantino went back to Spain, appearing in Bilbao, where he debuted in Rigoletto on April 15, 1900 with Huguet, de la Torre. During his Bilbao season, Constantino also sang in La Gioconda, La Bohème, Lucia di Lammermoor, and Lohengrin. From Bilbao, Constantino went on to Warsaw, where he made his debut at the Wielki on October 1, 1900 in Rigoletto with Luisa Tetrazzini. He also sang La Traviata (with Luisa Tetrazzini), Lucia di Lammermoor (with Luisa Tetrazzini), Cavalleria Rusticana (with Kruszelnicka, Battistini), La Gioconda and Il Barbiere di Siviglia (with Battistini, Huguet, Didur). Constantino moved on to St. Petersburg, making his debut on December 30, 1900 in La Gioconda with Kruszelnicka, Battistini, Fabbri, Arimondi and Zuccani conducting. Additional works performed were: I Puritani (January 2, 1901, with Wermez, Battistini, Arimondi); Lohengrin; La Traviata (with Arnoldson and Battistini); Rigoletto; Eugene Onegin and The Demon (on February 19, 1901, with Battistini, Arimondi). Constantino had a lot of success in St. Petersburg and he was invited to Moscow. He made his debut there again in Rigoletto on 4 March 1901, with Battistini, Arnoldson and Arimondi. In Moscow, Constantino also sang Faust, I Puritani, Eugene Onegin, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and La Traviata. Constantino never returned to Moscow, in spite of returning many times to St. Petersburg. After a short reappearance in Bilbao, Constantino made his debut in Berlin, singing later in Frankfurt. In Berlin, from the middle of May to the middle of June, he sang at the Königlisches Operntheater in La Traviata and Il Barbiere di Siviglia and at the Kroll in Rigoletto, L'Elisir d'Amore and I Puritani. At the end of 1901, Constantino appeared in Torino, singing in Rigoletto on November 21 with Bucalo and Karola. He departed to Warsaw, after singing a performance on 4 December 1901 of Isaias, an oratorio composed by Mancinelli. Following seasons in Warsaw, St. Petersburg, Odessa and Kiev, in June 1902, Constantino reappeared in Bilbao (Concerts), then in Madrid (Rigoletto, Lucia di Lammermoor, Lohengrin). After appearances during January 1903 in Bilbao, Constantino made his debut in Trieste on February 11, in L'Elisir d'Amore with Sins, Federici and Pini Corsi. It was followed by Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Barrientos, Bensaude, De Segurola. This was followed by appearances in Lisboa, before finally making his debut in Buenos Aires. He sang on May 25 at the Teatro de la Opera in La Gioconda with Mei-Figner, Ferraris, Giraldoni, Ercolani and the tyrant Toscanini. The part did not fit his voice well and he had a mixed reception. However on June 21, in Rigoletto with Clasenti, Guerrini, De Luca and Ercolani, he did better. He was well received as Alain in Grisélidis on July 14 with Farnetti, Ferraris, De Luca, and Ercolani. Before returning to Europe, he stopped in Montevideo singing Alain. In Europe, Constantino recorded his first records for Pathé in Barcelona. All those records are very difficult to find. In 1904, Constantino sang in Ferrara, Bologna, San Sebastian (debut on September 15, in Lohengrin) before going back to Madrid, Téatro Real (Faust on November 29 with Darclée, De Segurola). He staid in Madrid until January 1905. It was followed by Oporto, Teatro S. Jao (February 5, in Rigoletto with Kaschmann). He went to St. Petersburg for his last appearances in that city (Faust, The Demon, Eugene Onegin, La Traviata, Zampa, Il Barbiere di Siviglia). During April 1905, he recorded in Berlin 10 sides for the Gramophone Company. Those records while not exactly common can be found. On May 17, Constantino made his debut in London at Covent Garden in La Traviata with Melba, Scotti, Cotreuil and Mancinelli. Constantino sang also in Rigoletto and Don Giovanni. He appeared also at the Waldorf Theatre in Cavalleria Rusticana, Pagliacci (Beppe) and La Traviata. His partners included Kurz, Olitzka, Seveilhac, Sammarco, Journet, De Bohuss, De Lucia, Nevada, Destinn and Gilibert. During his London stay, Constantino recorded cylinders for Edison. After a single appearances in Paris at the Opéra Comique in a concert on October 19, Constantino recorded for Excelsior, Favorite, Pathé. All of those are fairly uncommon. After Paris, Constantino sang during the rest of 1905 in Madrid (Il Barbiere di Siviglia, with Battistini), Roma (Teatro Adriano, Lucia di Lammermoor, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Cavalleria Rusticana with Mascagni conducting) and Berlin (Theater des Westens, Rigoletto, Il Barbiere du Siviglia, Les Huguenots, which he had to transpose down). At the beginning of 1906, Constantino sang in Nice (Théâtre: Rigoletto with Seveilhac; La Bohème with Wyns; Tosca with Wyns, Seveilhac; Manon Lescaut; and the Casino Municipal: Lucia di Lammermoor with Seveilhac; La Bohème with Wyns, Dereyne, Seveilhac; Tosca with Wyns, Seveilhac; La Traviata; Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Badini; Manon Lescaut with Wyns; Rigoletto with Seveilhac, and La Traviata with Seveilhac). During his stay, Constantino recorded for Eden and Odéon in Paris. All records are uncommon. He made his debut in North America on 20 November in New Orleans in Carmen with Dereyne and De Segurola. Other performances were in Cavalleria Rusticana, Rigoletto, La Bohème, La Traviata, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Lucia di Lammermoor, Adriana Lecouvreur, La Gioconda, Faust and Les Huguenots. Some his colleagues included Nielsen, Nordica, Angelini-Fornari. Throughout July and August, 1906, Constantino sang in St. Louis, Cincinnati, Chicago, Kansas City, El Paso, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Spokane, Helena, Butte, Salt Lake City, Denver, Clinton, Toronto, Ottawa, Portland, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York, Washington, Duluth, Minneapolis, La Crosse, Milwaukee, Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Toledo, and Troy. During that time period, Constantino recorded again for Edison (Cylinders) and Victor. The Victor records are easy to find. After a brief appearance in Berlin at the Kroll during August 1908, Constantino went back to North America. He reappeared in Philadelphia on 1 December in Rigoletto with L. Tetrazzini, Sammarco and Arimondi. It was followed by his debut at the Manhattan Opera house in New York in Rigoletto with L. Tetrazzini, Renaud, Arimondi and Campanini. He alternated between Philadelphia, New York and Baltimore until March 1909. In April 1909, he recorded for Columbia. Those records are quite common. On March 29, Constantino was in Boston singing in Lucia di Lammermoor with L. Tetrazzini, Polese. It was followed by La Traviata, La Bohème, and Rigoletto. Constantino returned to Argentina during May 1909. He made his debut at the Teatro Colón in La Gioconda on May 23 with Burzio, Ruffo, and Walter. He sang also Tosca (with Darclée, Giraldoni), Aida (with Burzio, Petri, De Luca, Walter), Aurora (with Darclée, Ruffo, Berardi), Eidelberga mia (with Darclée, De Luca), The Demon (with Darclée, Ruffo), La Bohème (with Burzio, Pini Corsi), Cavalleria Rusticana (with Burzio). He appeared for one performance of Aida on August 24, with Burzio, Petri, De Luca, Walter) in Montevideo. Constantino returned to Boston on November 8th in La Gioconda with Nordica, Homer, Baklanov, Nivette. After finishing the year in Boston, Constantino sang up to April 1910 in Pittsburgh, Chicago, Cincinnati, Springfield, Boston, Providence, New Haven. During this period Constantino recorded for Columbia and Edison. The Columbia records are common, while the Edison Diamond Discs were all unpublished. During May 1910, he was back in Buenos Aires singing at the Colón, and Coliseo. He also appeared at La Plata and Rosario before going to Rio de Janeiro. Constantino finished his South American tour singing in Santiago. He returned to Boston on November 1911. After Boston, Constantino made his Metropolitan Opera debut on November 24 in Rigoletto with Melba, Flahaut, Renaud and Didur. Constantino sang until March 1911 in Boston, Fitchburg, Chicago, Worcester, Philadelphia, Springfield and Portland. Constantino sang on May 25 in Buenos Aires in Lucia di Lammermoor with Barrientos, Ruffo, De Angelis. Other appearances at the Colón were in Rigoletto, Mefistofele, Rigoletto and Don Carlo. He also appeared in Montevideo, Bragado, Cordoba, and Bahia Blanca. During his concert in Bragado, he conceived the idea of building his own opera house in that city. The theatre was opened a year later. Constantino returned to the USA singing in Boston (November 29), New York (Metropolitan Opera, December 27; Hippodrome, Madison Square Garden), Portland (January 25) and New Haven (February 1). Constantino went to Cuba, making his debut on February 27, 1912 in La Habana in Rigoletto. Besides La Habana, he sang in Matanzas, Cienfuegos, Camagüey, Santiago de Cuba, Manzanillo, Ciego Avila, Cardenas and Matanzas. After a short season in New Orleans, Constantino recorded his last two cylinders for Edison. One of the cylinder was the death of Otello, a role he never sang on stage. This recording is distinguished by a remarkable dying groan. Constantino went back to Bragado singing in his own opera house on November 25, 1912 in La Bohème. He sang also Rigoletto, Tosca and La Gioconda. In 1913, Constantino sang in Santiago, and Valparaiso. From May to August in 1914, Constantino undertook a last tour of the USA singing in Boston, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, Seattle, Venezia, San Diego, Long Beach, Santa Ana. In 1919, Constantino was engaged in Mexico City for a series of concerts. During his debut on April 19, he lost his voice. He recovered and sang again on May 3, 4, 6, 15, 18, 30. He developed an attack of hypertension and for some times lost his faculties. After intensive medical treatment, he recovered his powers. But another attack happened and he died on November 19, 1919.

Chronology of some appearances

1898 Ferrara Teatro Comunale Boheme (Rodolfo)
1899 Firenze  Teatro Pagliano Boheme (Rodolfo)
1899 Lisbona Teatro San Carlos Boheme (Rodolfo)
1900  Varsavia  Teatro Imperiale  Barbiere di Siviglia (Almaviva)
1902 Kiev Teatro Solodonikoff Barbiere di Siviglia (Almaviva)
1902 Trieste Teatro Comunale Barbiere di Siviglia (Almaviva)
1903 Lisbona Teatro San Carlos Barbiere di Siviglia (Almaviva)
1903 Lisbona Teatro San Carlos Boheme (Rodolfo)
1904 Madrid Teatro Reale Barbiere di Siviglia (Almaviva)
1905 Roma Teatro Adriano Barbiere di Siviglia (Almaviva)
1906 Nice  Casinт Municipal Barbiere di Siviglia (Almaviva)
1906 New Orleans Opera Barbiere di Siviglia (Almaviva)
1906 New Orleans Opera Boheme (Rodolfo)
1906 New Orleans Opera Carmen (Don Jose)
1907 Los Angeles Auditorium Boheme (Rodolfo)
1907 Boston  Majestic Theater Carmen (Don Jose)
1908 Philadelphia  Lyric Theater Barbiere di Siviglia (Almaviva)
1908 Washington Belasco Theater Carmen (Don Jose)
1908 New York  Manhattan Opera House Carmen (Don Jose)
1909 Boston  Opera House Carmen (Don Jose)
1910 Boston  Opera House Barbiere di Siviglia (Almaviva)
1910 Pittsburgh Nixon Theater Carmen (Don Jose)
1912 Boston  Opera House Barbiere di Siviglia (Almaviva)



Pathe cylinders & discs, Barcelona1903-04
Dolores (Breton): Di que es verdad Pathe 12012
Marina (Arrieta): Costas las delLevante Pathe 12013
Marina (Arrieta): Al ver en la inmensa llanura delmar Pathe 12014
Marina (Arrieta):  No sabes tu Pathe 12021

G&T, Berlin1905-04
Favorita (Donizetti): Spirto gentil G&T 2-52403
Tosca (Puccini): E lucevan le stelle G&T 2-52408 28h
Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni): O Lola G&T 2-52409 29h
Rigoletto (Verdi): La donna è mobile G&T 2-52410 30h
Martha (Flotow): M'appari G&T 2-52406

Edison cylinders, London1905-08
Rigoletto (Verdi): La donna è mobile B.4
Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini): Ecco ridente B 11
Aida (Verdi): Celeste Aida B 12
Africana (Meyerbeer): O paradiso B. 49
Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni): Viva il vino spumeggiante B52
Carmen (Bizet):  Halte-là! Qui va là?  B59
Boheme (Puccini): Sono un poeta B.67

Favorite, Paris1905-10-04
Manon (Massenet): Chiudo gli occhi 1-35058  1840-f
Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini): Ecco ridente  1-35050 1841-f
Rigoletto (Verdi): Questa o quella 1-35059 1842-f
Bohème (Puccini): Io son poeta 1-35052 1844-f
Africana (Meyerbeer): O paradiso 1846-f
Faust (Gounod): Salve dimora  1847f
Aida (Verdi): Celeste Aida 1-35057  1851-f

Pathe, Paris 1905-10
Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni): O Lola 4247
Bohème (Puccini): Io son poeta 4248
Tosca (Puccini): E lucevan le stelle 4251
Africana (Meyerbeer): O paradiso 4253
Aida (Verdi): Celeste Aida 4254
Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini): Ecco ridente  4256
Mefistofele (Boito): Dai campi, dai prati 4257
Tosca (Puccini): Recondita armonia 4258
Favorita (Donizetti): Una vergine 4259
Favorita (Donizetti): Spirto gentil 4266
Mefistofele (Boito): Giunto sul passo estremo 4267
Iris (Mascagni): Apri la tua finestra 4271
Huguenots (Meyerbeer): Bianca al par 4269
Lohengrin (Wagner): Racconto del Graal 4272
Manon Lescaut (Puccini): Donna non vidi mai 4273
Pescatori di perle (Bizet): Mi par d'udire ancora 4278  
Manon Lescaut (Puccini): Tra voi, belle  4279
Manon Lescaut (Puccini): Guardate, pazzo son  4291
Traviata (Verdi): Dei miei bollenti spiriti 4292
Bohème (Puccini): Mimi è una civetta 4293

Eden, Paris 1906?
Pagliacci (Leoncavallo): Vesti la giubba E.5091

Odeon, Paris 1906?
Manon (Massenet): En fermant les yeux 36366 xP2099
Tosca (Puccini): Le ciel luisait d'étoiles 36367 xP2100
Los ojos negros (Alvárez) 41205 xS324
Marina (Arrieta): Costas las del Levante 41206 cS325

Victor, 1907-05-22
Rigoletto (Verdi): Questa o quella 64069 B4522-1
Elisir d'amore (Donizetti): Una furtiva lagrima 74065 C4523-1
Traviata (Verdi): Dei miei bollenti spiriti 74083 C4525-1
Rigoletto (Verdi): La donna è mobile 64072 B4521-1

Victor, 1907-05-28
Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini): Ecco ridente 74073 C4535-1
Mefistofele (Boito): Giunto sul passo estremo 74084 C4536-2
Pescatori di perle (Bizet): Mi par d'udire ancora  74067 C4540-1

Victor, 1907-05-29
Africana (Meyerbeer): O paradiso 74085 C4546-1

Victor, 1907-05-31
Rigoletto (Verdi): E il sol dell'anima with Alice Nielsen 74063 C-4547-2
Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti): Veranno a te sull'aure with Alice Nielsen 74064 C-4550-1
Faust (Gounod): Dammi ancor with Alice Nielsen 74076 C-4552-1

Victor, 1908-04-22
Romeo et Juliette (Gounod): Ange adorable with Alice Nielsen 74108 C-6135-1
Boheme (Puccini): Che gelida manina 74106 C6138

Edison 4-min cylinders, New York 1908-04-24 & 1908-04-27?
Mignon (Thomas): Elle ne croyait pas 28150
Tosca (Puccini): Recondita armonia B165
Africana (Meyerbeer): O paradiso B178
Carmen (Bizet): Il fior B184
Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini): Ecco ridente 30027
Favorita (Donizetti): Una vergine 30029
Pagliacci (Leoncavallo): Vesti la giubba  30035
Gioconda (Ponchielli): Cielo e mar 30038
Otello (Verdi): Niun mi tema 28140
Aida (Verdi): Celeste Aida 28161

Columbia, New York 1909-03
Vorrei (Tosti) H1001 30226
Elisir d'amore (Donizetti): Una furtiva lagrima H1004 30227
La Paloma (Yradier) S5000 30231

Columbia, New York 1909-03-30
Marina (Arrieta): Costas las delLevante S5000  30237

Columbia, New York 1909-04
La milonga: Cancion Argentina(Garcia) S14  4043
Rigoletto (Verdi): La donna è mobile A680 4044
Rigoletto (Verdi): Questa o quella A680 4045
Vidalida: Cancion ArgentinaS13 4056
Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti): Tu che a'Dio A692 4058
Aida (Verdi): Celeste Aida  S22 4062
Carmen (Bizet): Il fior H18  4063
Trovatore (Verdi): Di quella pira H9 4071
Trovatore (Verdi): Deserto sulla terra H9 4072
Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni): Siciliana A681 4057
Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni): Brindisi A681 4064

Columbia, New York 1909-04-17
Duca d'Alba (Donizetti): Angelo casto e bel H1006 30246

Columbia, New York 1910-04-07
Faust (Gounod): Io bramo il piacere with Jose Mardones S5018 30410
Faust (Gounod): Che fate qui signor? with Jose Mardones and Ramon Blanchart  S5082 30411

Columbia, New York 1910-04-09
Forza del destino (Verdi): Solenne in quest'ora with Ramon Blanchart S5080 30419
Boheme  (Puccini): Ah! Mimi, tu piu non torni with Ramon Blanchart A5185 30420

Columbia, New York 1910-04-11
Rigoletto (Verdi): Bella figlia dell'amore with Ramon Blanchart, Eugenia Bronskaja and Bettina Freeman H1029 30422
Traviata (Verdi): Parigi o cara with Eugenia Bronskaja H1023 30429

Columbia, New York 1910-04-15
Rigoletto (Verdi): E il sol dell'anima with Eugenia Bronskaja H1025 30435
Huguenots (Meyerbeer): Ah qual soave... Bianca al par H1051  30438
Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti): Verranno a te with Eugenia Bronskaja H1024 30439
Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti): Chi mi frena with Luigi Cilla, Ramon Blanchart, Eugenia Bronskaja, Bettina Freeman and Jose Mardones A5177 30443
Boheme (Puccini): O soave fanciulla with Eugenia Bronskaja H1028 30444
Faust (Gounod): Dammi ancor with Eugenia Bronskaja H1024  30445

Columbia, New York 1910-04-21
Traviata (Verdi): Un di, felice with Eugenia Bronskaja H1023 30460
Aurora (Panizza): Canto de la Bandiera  S5022 30461
Faust (Gounod): Salve dimora S5021 30464
Mignon (Thomas): Ah! non credevi tu S5023  30465
Pescatori di perle (Bizet): Mi par d'udire ancora  S5026 30466
Rigoletto (Verdi): Parmi veder le lagrime A5217 30463

Columbia, New York 1910-04
Prophete (Meyerbeer): Re del ciel S30  4440

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