Hipólito Lázaro

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Hipólito (or Hipòlit) Lázaro (Barcelona, Spain, September 13, 1887 – May 14, 1974) was a Spanish/Catalan opera singer. Lázaro was born in Barcelona, Spain.

His professional debut was in 1910 at Teatre Novedades in Barcelona, in La favorite. His Italian debut came late 1910 in Rigoletto at the Teatro Tosi-Borghi in Ferrara. During the summer of 1911 he appeared in a series of concerts held in England as Antonio Manuele.

Lázaro created the tenor roles of Mascagni's Parisina (1913, Scala) and Il piccolo Marat (1921, Costanzi), and Romani's Fedra (1915, Costanzi). While in Philadelphia in 1924, he received a letter from Umberto Giordano who was working on his next opera, La cena delle beffe, asking him to create the tenor role. The premiere was held in December 1924 at La Scala with Lázaro, under the baton of Toscanini. His career was based on verismo roles, Verdi (specially Rigoletto, Aida, Il trovatore), Carmen, some bel canto roles (La favorite, I puritani, Les huguenots) and Spanish zarzuela (Arrieta's Marina, specially).

He had a "wide-ranging, timbred, considerably vibrant, extended, bold, resilient even if slightly guttural voice" (Paolo Padovan) with a brilliant metallic shine, and a passionate approach to singing. When he sang at the Metropolitan Opera House he was overshadowed by Caruso to whom he was compared. He also maintained a strong rivalry with Miguel Fleta.

The second part of Lázaros career, stretching from the mid 20's to his retirement in 1950 (actually, he retired in 1940, with some performances after), consisted of concerts and performances held within Spain, France (Paris) and Italy, apart from his various trips to South America (he was very popular there) and in particular Cuba.

His repertoire was becoming narrower and narrower from the 30's and onwards, and the voice showed clear signs of decline. Yet he conserved some of his glory and acclaim through the zarzuela. During the 30's he performed in Curro Vargas, Doña Francisquita, La Tempestad and starred in Spanish operas as Bretón's La Dolores, Vives' Euda d'Uriach (1934) and Gaig's El estudiante de Salamanca (1935).

Lázaro's career ended in La Habana, Cuba, 1950, with the performances of Marina, Aida and Rigoletto. Then, he wrote two books: El libro de mi vida (1968, My life book), an autobiographical work, and Mi método de canto (1947, My singing method), didactical work for tenor students.

He died 24 years later in his native Barcelona, on May 14, 1974, at the age of 87.

References[edit]

  • Anthonisen, Joern H. Hipólito LÁzaro: The world's number one tenor.
  • Lauri-Volpi, Giacomo. Voci parallele. Bologna, 1977, p. 136.
  • Padoan, Paolo, booklet to Hipólito Lázaro, Recordings from 1911-1931, Barcelona: Diverdi Classics / Edizioni del TIMA Club.
  • Pérez, Miquel. Hipólito Lázaro - O paradiso!, Barcelona, 2010 / Témenos Edicions

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