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Francesco Tamagno (28 December 1850 – 31 August 1905) was an Italian operatic tenor who sang with enormous success throughout Europe and America. On 5 February 1887, he sang Otello in the first performance of Giuseppe Verdi's opera. He is also the earliest Italian tenor of note to have left a sizeable body of recordings of his voice. As a man, he was one of the first international public figures to admit (and take quiet pride) in the fact that (from her birth) he was the single parent and carer of a daughter (see below).
The most famous heroic tenor of his age, Tamagno performed in a total of 26 countries, gaining renown for the power of his singing, especially in the upper register. Critics likened the sound of his voice to that of a trumpet or even a cannon. (Italians call this rare type of singer a "tenore robusto" or "tenore di forza".) Tamagno's vocal range extended up to high C-sharp during his prime, but he was no mere 'belter' of high notes; for his recordings provide evidence of his ability, even at career's end, to sing softly when required, modulating the dynamic levels of his voice with skill and sensitivity.
Best known as the creator of the protagonist's part in Verdi's Otello at La Scala, Milan in 1887, he also was the first Gabriele Adorno in Verdi's 1881 revision of Simon Boccanegra, a far more lyrical assignment than the "Moor of Venice". He participated, too, in the premiere of Verdi's Italian-language version of Don Carlos when it was staged at La Scala in 1884, singing the eponymous role of the Infante of Spain. Five other operas in which Tamagno created leading roles were Carlos Gomes' Maria Tudor (in 1879), Amilcare Ponchielli's Il figliuol prodigo (1880) and Marion Delorme (1885), Ruggero Leoncavallo's I Medici (1893) and Isidore de Lara's Messaline (1899).