The great Italian baritone Pasquale Amato (1878-1942) in
"Largo al factotum" from Act 1 of Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia, recorded in 1911 for Victor Talking Machine & Co..
The following biographical notes comes from "Subito-Cantabile: A Site for Collectors of Great Singers of the Past" ("He was born in Naples and studied with Benjamino Carelli and Vincenzo Lombardi (teacher of Fernando de Lucia) at the Conservatory San Pietro a Majella. He made his début at the Teatro Bellini in Naples at the age of 21, singing Germont père in La Traviata. His career began at this early time and he soon appeared in roles such as Lescaut, Escamillo, Renato and Valentin. He sang at the Teatro Dal Verme in Milan, in Genua, Salerno, Catania, Monte Carlo and appeared in Germany and Russia. He was extremely successful in Donizetti's Maria de Rohan and Leoncavallo's Zazà. In 1904 he appeared at Covent Garden for the first time. He also alternated Victor Maurel and Mario Sammarco as Rigoletto. He sang again Escamillo and Marcel. He soon enjoyed huge success in South America and appeared there in all his roles. In 1907 he was celebrated at La Scala, where he sang Golaud in the Italian premiere of Pelléas et Mélisande. He added Kurwenal (opposite Salomea Krusceniski and Giuseppe Borgatti) and the roles in Catalani's La Wally and La Gioconda. In 1908 he was engaged at the Met. Here he sang frequently opposite Enrico Caruso, mainly in the Italian repertoire. His most successful roles at the Met were Luna, Carlos, Ashton, Tonio, Rigoletto and Amfortas. He created Jack Rance in Puccini's La Fanciulla del West in 1910, opposite Emmy Destinn, Enrico Caruso and Adamo Didur. His repertoire included about 70 roles. He also appeared in various contemporary operas by Cilea, Giordano, Gianetti and Damrosch. From the beginning of his career he overused his wonderful voice. Vocal decline began in 1912 (he was 43 years old!) and from 1920 his career was relegated to appearances in provincial theatres and on tour with various companies. He spent the last years as professor of voice and opera at the Louisiana university.
He is one of the greatest Italian baritones of all time. You hear a splendidly firm baritone voice with a true ring in the upper register (up to high A). His voice is very individual, and it is almost impossible to confuse him with any other baritone. He sings with a smooth legato and perfect articulation. It is a truly thrilling voice. I [i.e. Andrea Suhm-Binder] have the impression that he frequently sings with too much muscular tension. This might be one of the reasons for the early vocal deterioration."
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.