151. Mariano Stabile (1888-1968)

Italian baritone born in Palermo, Stabile’s vocal studies took place at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome with Antonio Cotogni. He made his professional debut in Palermo, as Marcello, in “La Bohème” (1009). After singing in many Italian theaters, Stabile appeared in Saint Petersburg (1911), Buenos Aires (1913), Barcelona (1914), and Paris (1917).

The turning point of his career came when Arturo Toscanini chose him for the title-role in Falstaff for the reopening of La Scala in 1921, a role that he would eventually sing an estimated 1200 times during his long career. He sang at La Scala until 1955 covering roles such as Gérard, Scarpia, Iago, Malatesta, Dulcamara, Beckmesser, Schicchi. Also at La Scala, he created the title role of Respighi’s Belfagor, in 1923. Stabile took also part in the revival of “Il turco in Italia”, as Prosdocimo (1955) with Maria Callas.

Stabile appeared regularly at the Royal Opera House in London, from 1926 to 1931. He also sang at the Festivals of Glyndebourne and Salzburg between 1931 and 1939, and in Mozart roles such as Figaro, Don Giovanni, Don Alfonso, at the Cambridge Theatre in London from 1946 to 1949. His only appearance in North America seems to have been in Chicago in 1924. His voice was good and it was used with style and intelligence. He had excellent diction, was an outstanding singing-actor -especially in comedy-, and enjoyed a remarkably long career. He was married to Italian soprano Gemma Bosini (1890–1982), with whom he occasionally appeared on stage.

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