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Life and career
Granforte emigrated as a young man to Argentina, where he studied voice with Guido Capocci in Buenos Aires. He made his stage debut in Rosario, as Germont, in 1913.
After returning to Italy, he sang at the Rome Opera before making his debut at La Scala in Milan, as Amfortas, in 1921. In 1924, he went to Australia on a successful tour with Nellie Melba. During Granforte's subsequent tour of Australia in J. C. Williamson's 1932 Grand Opera season, Frank Thring senior's Melbourne-based Efftee Productions filmed him with the Williamson-Imperial Grand Opera Company in selections from Rossini's The Barber of Seville. This relatively brief footage was released on VHS in 1989 by the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.
Granforte possessed a big, rich, vibrant voice and he quickly established himself in the great baritone roles of Verdi and the verismo composers. He sang some Wagner, too, and also took part in the creation of Nerone by Mascagni in 1935.
After retiring from the stage, he taught at the Music Conservatory of Ankara, and later in Prague and Milan, where amongst his pupil was the bass Raffaele Arié. He can be heard on recordings of Il trovatore, Otello, Pagliacci and Tosca. Granforte also recorded 78-rpm discs of individual arias and duets in the 1920s and '30s, and the best of these have been reissued on a CD anthology from the Preiser label.
Granforte is considered to have been one of the great Italian baritones of the 1920s and '30s, taking his esteemed place alongside the likes of Mariano Stabile, Carlo Galeffi, Cesare Formichi, Carlo Tagliabue, Benvenuto Franci and Mario Basiola, among others.
- Grove Music Online, J.B. Steane, Oxford University Press, 2008.
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