THIS PART IS FOR YOUR FAVORITES! Please discuss this artist with your comments!
Titta Ruffo, Baritone (1877-1953)
Ambroise Thomas - Hamlet
Ô vin, dissipe la tristesse (Brindisi) - sung in italian -
My personal opinion: "Ma quello non era una voce, quello era un miracolo!" - It wasn´t just only a voice, it was a miracle! Giuseppe de Luca´s statement became equally popular as Tullio Serafin´s words he spoke to Walter Legge: "In my whole life, there were three wonders: Caruso, Ponselle and Ruffo." And Legge himself said, that Ruffo produced a greater sound-volume than any other singer. And the audience just called Ruffo "La voce del Leone" - The voice of a lion! Place position four for a singer, who retires from the operatic stage in 1931. And it means: We only know his voice by his recordings (and most of them are in bad sound). The legend of Titta Ruffo is a legend that lived on from one generation to the next. When Ruffo had his first successes in Italy, some elder singing coaches compared him with Antonio Magini-Coletti, the famous Verdi-Baritone in the 1850s. It was John Steane, who wrote, that the only baritone who reminds us of Ruffo perhaps was Gian-Giacomo Guelfi, but he was lesser controlled. For me the only successor of Ruffo was Gino Bechi. Extraordinary just like his giant volume was the extention of Ruffo´s voice: He could reached tenor-heights. In the book "Grosse Stimmen" by J. M. Fischer, you can read about an experiment in 1920 that Ruffo made together with two ENT-physicians. During this he sang the cavatine of Faust(!) "Salut, demeure" with the high C. Witness George Cunelli, a singing-pedagog, later admittet that he had never heard this tone with such a volume and brilliance by a tenor! For some listeners, the mighty sound of Ruffo´s voice was abnormal. He was said to embody a new style of singing, in which power and force eclipsed the previous generation´s premium on vocal grace and finesse. His detractors accused him of bellowing to overpower the audience with sheer force. Ruffo made over 130 records, and his voice was recorded exceptionally, although the acoustic in general was bad. But many of his electric recordings after 1925 revealed him past his prime. Ruffo's forceful singing style was perhaps not conducive to vocal longevity, and his vocal decline began relatively early. For Ruffo himself, this decline was not a taboo: "I never knew how to sing. That is, why my voice went by the time I was fifty." However, the cadenza in his 1907 rendition of Hamlet´s "Brindisi" demonstrates his amazing breath control when he was young. And some say, his recording of "Si, pel ciel" (Verdi, Otello) with Caruso probably was the best single performance that was ever recorded (I prefer the Merrill/Bjoerling-rendition). After his retirement he stayed for several years in Switzerland and France. In 1937 he returned to Italy, where he was later arrested for opposing the Fascist regime. He died at the age of 76 from heart disease in Florence. I know, Titta Ruffo was one of the greatest, but I didn´t choose him for Part 1. For me, he was a little bit... may I say so: Too loud! He was the Corelli among baritones (Remember: A lion roars...), and so I had my doubts. But you gave him 68 votings and place position 4. A huge success, colossal just as "La voce del Leone".
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