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Mattia Battistini (27 February 1856 – 7 November 1928) was an Italian operatic baritone. He was called "King of Baritones".
Battistini was born in Rome and brought up largely at Collebaccaro di Contigliano, a village near Rieti, where his parents had an estate.
His grandfather, Giovanni, and uncle, Raffaele, were personal physicians to the Pope and his father, Cavaliere Luigi Battistini, was a professor of anatomy at the University of Rome. Battistini attended the Collegio Bandinelli and later the Istituto dell' Apollinare.
Battistini dropped out of law school to study with Emilio Terziani (who taught composition) and with Venceslao Persichini (professor of singing) at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia—then the Liceo Musicale of Rome. Battistini worked with conductor Luigi Mancinelli and the composer Augusto Rotoli, and he consulted with baritone Antonio Cotogni, in an effort to refine his technique.
Most of the following information about Mattia Battistini's performance venues, dates and roles is drawn from The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Opera (second edition, 1980), edited by Harold Rosenthal and John Warrack, and The Record of Singing (Volume One, 1977), by Michael Scott.
A 22-year-old Battistini made his operatic début at the Teatro Argentina, Rome, as Alfonso in Donizetti's La favorita on 11 December 1878. However, this date is erroneously given by many reference books and articles as correct, but reveals careless and repeated copying from faulty sources. It has been proven by the painstaking research of Jacques Chuilon that the date should most likely be replaced by Saturday, 9 November 1878. For full argumentation please see page 7 of the definitive Battistini biography Mattia Battistini, King of Baritones and Baritone of Kings, 2009 (The Scarecrow Press, Lanham, Md, USA), translation by E. Thomas Glasow; also to be found on page 17 of the author's original French edition Battistini, le dernier divo, 1996 (Editions Romillat, Paris).