Tito Gobbi (24 October 1913 -- 5 March 1984) was an Italian operatic baritone with an international reputation. Gobbi's international career blossomed after the Second World War, with appearances in 1948 at the San Francisco Opera. He performed for the first time at London's Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in 1950 and sang with the Lyric Opera of Chicago from 1954 until 1974. The year 1974 also saw the last of Gobbi's numerous appearances at Covent Garden, where he had been much admired by the public and critics alike for his sensitive musicianship as well as for his acting talent and interpretive insights. In his early career he appeared in a number of motion pictures, including some filmed operas such as The Barber of Seville and also the popular 1948 British drama set in wartime Italy, The Glass Mountain, which made him known to a wide public. By the time of his death he had appeared in some 25 films, in both singing and speaking parts. During the 1960s, Gobbi diversified into stage directing, a notable example being his 1965 production of Verdi's Simon Boccanegra at Covent Garden. He made many recordings, too, beginning in the 1940s. Gobbi provided the singing voice for Anthony Quinn as Alfio in the film Cavalleria rusticana (1953). Gobbi famously sang the part of Scarpia in the legendary 1964 Franco Zeffirelli production of Puccini's Tosca at Covent Garden, with soprano Maria Callas in the title role. Act II of the production was filmed and shown on British television, in what must be one of the most acclaimed dramatic interpretations of all recorded operatic repertoire (now preserved on DVD). Gobbi and Callas had previously sung Tosca together in a classic 1953 EMI recording of the opera made in Milan, with Giuseppe Di Stefano as Cavaradossi and Victor de Sabata conducting. That 1953 album was re-issued on long-playing gramophone record and, later, CD. It is considered by many to be the finest recording of a complete opera ever made. It went out of print only once, after Callas recorded the role again in stereo in 1964; but the 1953 mono version was soon re-released and is the one that remains readily available to this day. Gobbi was a close friend and admirer of Callas, and was interviewed several times about their various stage collaborations. In retirement, Gobbi turned to writing. His autobiography, Tito Gobbi: My Life, was published in 1979. The book Tito Gobbi and His World of Italian Opera followed in 1984. He died in Rome that same year, aged 70...
Lyrics & English Translation
Handyman of the city. Early in the workshop I arrive at dawn. Ah, what a life, what a pleasure For a barber of quality! Ah, bravo Figaro! Bravo, very good! I am the luckiest, it's the truth! Ready for anything, night and day I'm always on the move. Cushier fate for a barber, A more noble life cannot be found. Razors and combs Lancets and scissors, at my command everything is here. Here are the extra tools then, for business With the ladies... with the gentlemen... Everyone asks me, everyone wants me, women, children, old people, young ones: Here are the wigs... A quick shave of the beard... Here are the leeches for bleeding... The note... Here are the wigs, a quick shave soon, The note, hey! Figaro! Figaro! Figaro!, Etc.. Alas, what frenzy! Alas, what a crowd! One at a time, for goodness sake! Figaro! I'm here. Hey, Figaro! I'm here. Figaro here, Figaro there, Figaro up, Figaro down, Swifter and swifter I'm like a spark: I'm the handyman of the city. Ah, bravo Figaro! Bravo, very good; Fortunately for you I will not fail.
A link to this wonderful artists personal website:
I send my kind and warm regards,
Watch videos with other singers performing Largo al factotum:
SCENA 2 Figaro, con la chitarra appesa al collo e detto, nascosto
N. 2 - Cavatina
FIGARO Largo al factotum della città. Presto a bottega, ché l'alba è già. Ah, che bel vivere, che bel piacere per un barbiere di qualità! Ah, bravo Figaro! Bravo, brayissimo; fortunatissimo per verità! Pronto a far tutto, la notte e il giorno sempre d'intorno, in giro sta. Miglior cuccagna per un barbiere, vita più nobile, no, non si dà. Rasori e pettini, lancette e forbici, al mio comando tutto qui sta. V'è la risorsa, poi, del mestiere colla donnetta col cavaliere Ah, che bel vivere, che bel piacere per un barbiere di qualità! Tutti mi chiedono, tutti mi vogliono, donne, ragazzi, vecchi, fanciulle: Qua la parrucca Presto la barba Qua la sanguigna Presto il biglietto Figaro ... Figaro Son qua, son qua. Figaro... Figaro... Eccomi qua. Ahimè, che furia! Ahimè, che folla! Una alla volta, per carità! Figaro su, Figaro giù Pronto prontissimo son come il fulmine: sono il factotum della città. Ah, bravo Figaro! Bravo, bravissimo; a te fortuna non mancherà.
English Libretto or Translation:
Figaro enters with a guitar around his neck
FIGARO La ran la le ra la ran la la. Make way for the factotum of the city. La ran la la, etc. Rushing to his shop for dawn is here. La ran la la, etc. What a merry life, what gay pleasures for a barber of quality. Ah, bravo Figaro, bravo, bravissimo, bravo! La ran la la, etc. Most fortunate of men, indeed you are! La ran la la, etc.
Ready for everything by night or by day, always in bustle, in constant motion. A better lot for a barber, a nobler life does not exist. La la ran la la ran la, etc.
Razors and combs, lancets and scissors, at my command everything's ready. Then there are "extras" part of my trade, business for ladies and cavaliers … La la ran la …la …la. Ah, what a merry life, what gay pleasures, for a barber of quality.
All call for me, all want me, ladies and children, old men and maidens. I need a wig, I want a shave, leeches to bleed me, here, take this note. All call for me, all want me. I need a wig, I want a shave, here, take this note. Ho, Figaro, Figaro, Figaro, etc. Heavens! what a commotion! Heavens! What a crowd! One at a time, for pity's sake.
Ho, Figaro! - I am here! Figaro here, Figaro there, Figaro up. Figaro down. Quicker and quicker I go like greased lightning, make way for the factotum of the city,
Ah, bravo, Figaro, bravo, bravissimo, On you good fortune will always smile. La la ran la, etc. I am the factotum of the city.