From "Paolo Silveri's Fantastic Life":
"At the beginning of 1957, when the rumour circulated that Silveri would be staying in Rome for a lengthy period, my house became frequented by more and more young singers - a constant stream of students asking for advice on voice production, on breathing technique, on exercises, in the hope of learning some secret that all the famous artists are supposed to have. To be truthful I have always had a flair for teaching and so I was happy to help those special cases who appeared so desperate and was able to resolve their problems with relative ease.
To illustrate a phrase or some particular way of producing a note I, of course, had to sing. One day I was speaking to a very well known tenor who had honoured me by coming to ask for my advice on how to place the voice for a phrase from Manon Lescaut: ‘Deh, non cessar...’ to demonstrate I suddentiy sang a B ?at that amazed me.
This was the ?rst time that I had ever been able to sustain such a high note during my entire career. I was so suprised that I had to try again. I knew that I had given up the stage, but I had to try... just out of simple curiosity. I experimented and each time I tried out something new I obtained better results without in any way damaging my throat. I do not wish to dwell on any particular psychological-vocal detail, but there were days when I was in a state of euphoria and others when I felt deeply discouraged; however, the result finally achieved was not the slightest bit disappointing.
In short, three years after my last performance of Rigoletto in Dublin, I decided to make a comeback in that same theatre according to the promise I had given - in Otello as a tenor!
The first performance took place on the 16th April 1959. At this point I leave it to the comments of the critic who wrote in the Herald of the 17th April that “From the ?rst act it was evident that this was going to be an outstanding performance for the Italian singer: and so it was; truly a triumph for Silveri, who sang every phrase, artistically and sensitively". The Evening Mail said “Silveri is gifted with acting ability quite above the general standard of tenors however eminent. He painted with great understanding of the part the gradual poisoning of the noble mind by the apparently aimless villainy of Iago.
The contrast between the gentleness and tenderness of the Otello of the love duet and the ?erce jealousy of a man obsessed with thoughts of a handkerchief was poignant and moving. As a tenor, Silveri was equal to the demands of the music. He took the higher notes with ease, yet with a certain suggestion of baritone quality."
I was delighted with the reviews and to know that I had been accepted as a tenor. Although my career as a baritone had been completely satisfying, my debut in the role of Otello represented the maximum that I could ask of myself. My career had been acted out as a trilogy — three stupendous phases: bass, baritone, tenor. In a short space of time I had interpreted the greatest roles ever written for the male voice — Boris, Rigoletto, Otello. I think that I must be unique in the history of opera.
After my latest début I returned to Italy and immediately became very much in demand as a tenor. La Scala offered me the part of Don José in Carmen which I wisely declined.
I was asked to sing Tristan, Samson, Sigmund and other dramatic parts but I had no intention of starting again from the beginning - I had achieved what I wanted. So I refused every offer except one and that was to record a concert for RAI (the Italian radio network). I wanted to listen to this concert so that I could judge my voice myself. I was not totally satis?ed with the new colour of my voice on and so decided that Otello was to be my ‘swan song’. I decided that the rest of my life should be devoted to the training of young singers and to my family and to my house on the Gianicolo, where I still live. I believed in all sincerity that this was how I wanted to spend the remainder of my life. Alas, I did not realise how great was my passion for singing. In fact, after only six months, I was not able to resist the offer of opening the lyric season at the Teatro San Carlos in Lisbon with Macbeth. This was the 11th March 1960. I had great success and this was enough to renew my enthusiasm and to take up the baritone roles again and to resume my career."