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Greatest Opera Singers
Saturday, October 27, 2012
Victor Maurel (Baritone) (Marseilles 1848 - New York City 1923)
He was a French operatic baritone who enjoyed an international reputation as a great singing-actor. Educated in music and stage craft at the Paris Conservatory, he made his debut in opera at the city of his birth, Marseilles, in 1867. The following year, he performed on stage in Paris for the first time. The city of New York first heard him in 1873, when he performed at the Academy of Music. Later, he would sing at New York's Metropolitan Opera House (in 1894-96 and 1898–99). Other famous venues at which he appeared included London's Royal Opera House, Covent Garden—in 1873-79, 1891–95 and 1904—and the Paris Opera, where he was on the roster of singers from 1879 through to 1894. Maurel was renowned in Europe and the United States for his vivid stage presence and exceptional acting and make-up skills; but his voice, while well trained and of good quality, was not considered to be as impressive as that of his chief French baritone rivals, Jean Lassalle (1847–1909) and Maurice Renaud (1861–1933). In 1887, Maurel created the role of Iago in Otello at La Scala, Milan, and then, in 1893, he created the title role in Falstaff, again at La Scala. These were the final two operatic masterpieces composed by Giuseppe Verdi, and it was Verdi who selected Maurel to perform in the premieres. Maurel made operatic history for a third time in 1892 when he was chosen to be the first Tonio in Ruggero Leoncavallo's enduringly popular verismo opera, Pagliacci. Like many Paris-trained singers of his day, Maurel was equally adept at performing roles in Italian and French. He appeared, too, in several German operas by Richard Wagner and was a famous Don Giovanni in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera of the same name. After retiring from opera, Maurel taught singing in New York City, where he died at the age of 75. One of his pupils was contralto Frances Ingram.
Chronology of some appearances
1871 VicenzaTeatro Eretenio Favorita (Alfonso)
1871 VicenzaTeatro Eretenio Ruy Blas (Sallustio)
1872 VeneziaTeatro MalibranBallo in Maschera (Renato)
1872 VeneziaTeatro Malibran Linda di Chamonix (Prefetto)