Saturday, July 31, 2010
1816, Ecco ridente in cielo -- role created by Manuel Garcia
Rossini, "Barbier di Siviglia". The première (under the title Almaviva, or the Useless Precaution) took place on 20 February 1816,
at the Teatro Argentina, Rome.
Role created by Manuel Garcia.
Manuel del Pópulo Vicente Rodriguez García, born 21 January 1775, died 10 June 1832, sometimes known as Manuel García father, was a noted Spanish opera singer, composer, impresario and singing teacher.
García was born in Seville, Spain. In 1808 he went to Paris with a reputation already gained as a tenor at Madrid and Cadiz. By 1808, when he appeared in the opera Griselda in Paris, he was already known as a composer of light operas. He lived in Naples, performing in Rossini's operas. These included the premières of Elisabetta, regina d'Inghilterra and The Barber of Seville, in which he created the role of Count Almaviva. In 1816, he visited Paris and London. Between 1819 and 1823, he lived in Paris, and sang in The Barber of Seville, Otello, Don Giovanni, and other popular favorites. Until 1824 he was of high repute in London and Paris.
His eldest daughter was the celebrated mezzo-soprano Maria Malibran, and his second daughter was the famous Pauline Viardot, one of the most astonishing musicians of the 19th century. He had a son, Manuel Patricio Rodríguez García, a baritone, who became an even more famous teacher than his father.
In 1826 he and his company visited the United States. They staged the first performances of Italian opera in New York. The García family took all the main parts in performances of The Barber of Seville, with García as Almaviva, his second wife Joaquina Sitchez, alias "la Briones", as Berta, Manuel jr as Figaro, and Maria as Rosina (Pauline was still very young at this time). In other performances Signor Crivelli, the English son of Gaetano Crivelli, used to act the second tenor. Mozart's greatest librettist, Lorenzo Da Ponte, was in America and encouraged the company to perform Don Giovanni, which was given its first American performance in the presence of its librettist, with García singing the title role, la Briones as Donna Elvira, Maria as Zerlina, Signor Crivelli as Don Ottavio and Manuel jr as Leporello.
They also performed in Mexico, and García recounted in his memoirs that while on the road between Mexico and Vera Cruz, he was robbed of all his money by brigands.
Garcia spent his final years in Paris as a teacher of singing, his voice being greatly impaired by age as well as fatigue. He is considered one of the most brilliant tenors of the 19th century.
In spite of his Spanish origins, Manuel García became the paragon of the Italian-style tenor of the beginning of the 19th century, who had baritonal characteristics and is presently sometimes called, mainly in Italy, baritenore (cf baritenor). García possessed, however, an unusual vocal compass: the parts written for him by Rossini generally tend to be higher than those written for other baritonal tenors like Andrea Nozzari or Domenico Donzelli, and, according to Paolo Scudo's testimony , it was García, and not Gilbert-Louis Duprez, who was the first singer able to utter the would-be “C from the chest”, although García is not reported to have ever sung it in public (which is not surprising given his eighteenth century artistic background). Despite his very wide range, he cannot be regarded as a tenore contraltino, and when he had, for instance, to confront Lindoro's role in L'italiana in Algeri, and, in particular, "the very high tessitura and the prevailingly syllabic composition of [his entrance aria] 'Languir per una bella', he would lower it by a tone and a half, singing it in C major instead of E flat". García was able to cope with real baritone parts as well. His phonation technique was superfine and allowed him exceptional virtuoso skills, with fluent and rapid vocalization and an impressive forceful trill. He was also able to master falsetto vocal phonation to such a point that, in a tonadilla of his, he could perform a duet with himself, where he sang both the tenor and the soprano parts.
Having an extravagant, even violent, personality and despotic attitudes even towards his children (who were also his pupils), he transported onto the stage something of his personal character, making his performances as Otello and Don Giovanni memorable, but he also succeeded in bridling his exuberance and in getting the style under perfect control, so that he could render his Mozart Count Almaviva a real, proud and elegant, grandee of Spain. .
The following list (cf inf External links - Amadeus Almanac) may not be complete, but it is intended to note the most significant moments in Manuel García’s career after his arrival in Italy. The symbol (*) indicates premieres, while the symbol (**) marks other notable performances, especially including town/theatre premieres.
Achille Ifigenia in Aulide  tragedia-opera (2nd version) [performed in Italian] Christoph Willibald Gluck Naples, Real Teatro San Carlo 15 August 1812 (**)
Achille Ecuba tragedia per musica Nicola Antonio Manfroce Naples, Real Teatro San Carlo 13 December 1812 (*)
Oitone Gaulo ed Oitone melodramma serio Pietro Generali Naples, Real Teatro San Carlo 9 March 1813 (*)
Califfo Isaun Il califfo di Bagdad opera comica Manuel García Naples, Real Teatro San Carlo 8 November 1813 (**)
Egeo Medea in Corinto  melodramma tragico (1st version) Simon Mayr Naples, Real Teatro San Carlo 28 November 1813 (*)
Endimione Diana ed Endimione cantata Manuel García Naples, Real Teatro San Carlo 9 February 1814 (*)
Alceo Partenope festa teatrale Giuseppe Farinelli Naples, Real Teatro San Carlo 15 August 1814 (*)
Don Rodrigo Donna Caritea, regina di Spagna dramma serio per musica Giuseppe Farinelli Naples, Real Teatro San Carlo 16 September 1814 (*)
Dallaton La donzella di Raab opera seria Manuel García Naples, Real Teatro San Carlo 4 November 1814 (*)
Enrico V La gioventù di Enrico Quinto opera Ferdinand Hérold Naples, Teatro del Fondo della Separazione 5 January 1815 (*)
Ataliba Cora  opera seria Simon Mayr Real Teatro San Carlo di Napoli 27 Marzo 1815 (*)
Don Basilio Le nozze di Figaro opera buffa Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Naples, Real Teatro San Carlo 11 May 1815 (**)
Norfolk Elisabetta, regina d'Inghilterra dramma per musica Gioachino Rossini Naples, Real Teatro San Carlo 4 October 1815 (*)
Almaviva Almaviva ossia L'inutile precauzione (Il barbiere di Siviglia) dramma comico Gioachino Rossini Rome, Teatro della Torre Argentina 20 February 1816 (*)
Jago Otello dramma tragico per musica (1st version) Gioachino Rossini Naples, Real Teatro San Carlo 18 January 1817 (**)
Lindoro L'italiana in Algeri melodramma buffo Gioachino Rossini Paris, Salle Louvois du Théâtre-Italien 1 February 1817 (**)
Torvaldo Torvaldo e Dorliska dramma lirico semiserio Gioachino Rossini Paris, Salle Louvois du Théâtre-Italien 21 November 1820 (**)
Giocondo La pietra del paragone melodramma giocoso (revision) Gioachino Rossini Paris, Salle Louvois du Théâtre-Italien 5 April 1821 (**)
Otello Otello dramma tragico per musica (1st version) Gioachino Rossini Paris, Salle Louvois du Théâtre-Italien 5 June 1821 (**)
Norfolk Elisabetta regina d'Inghilterra dramma per musica Gioachino Rossini Paris, Salle Louvois du Théâtre-Italien 10 March 1822 (**)
Florestan Florestan ou Le conseil des dix opéra Manuel García Paris, Théâtre de l'Académie Royale de Musique 26 June 1822 (*)
Aaron Mosè in Egitto azione tragico-sacra (3rd version) Gioachino Rossini Paris, Salle Louvois du Théâtre-Italien 20 October 1822 (**)
Ilo Zelmira dramma serio per musica (2nd version) Gioachino Rossini London, King's Theatre in the Haymarket 24 January 1824 (**)
Agorante Ricciardo e Zoraide dramma per musica (1st version) Gioachino Rossini London, King's Theatre in the Haymarket 24 March 1824 (**)
Idreno Semiramide melodramma tragico Gioachino Rossini London, King's Theatre in the Haymarket 15 July 1824 (**)
Almaviva Il barbiere di Siviglia dramma giocoso Gioachino Rossini New York, Park Theatre 29 November 1825 (**)
Otello Otello dramma tragico per musica (1st version) Gioachino Rossini New York, Park Theatre 7 February 1826 (**)
Narciso Il turco in Italia dramma buffo per musica (opera buffa, 2nd version) Gioachino Rossini New York, Park Theatre 14 March 1826 (**)
Don Giovanni Don Giovanni opera buffa Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart New York, Park Theatre 23 May 1826 (**)
Ramiro La Cenerentola melodramma giocoso Gioachino Rossini New York, Park Theatre 27 June 1827 (**)
El majo y la maja
El seductor arrepentido
Quien porfía mucho alcanza
El criado fingido
El poeta calculista
Los ripios del maestro Adán
Il califfo di Bagdad
Le prince d’occasion
La figlia dell'aria
La mort du Tasse
Astuzie e prudenza
La buona famiglia
Il lupo d’Ostenda
El gitano por amor
El zapatero de Bagdad
Los maridos solteros
1.^ cf External links: Musical criticism.com and Amadeus Almanac
2.^ Paolo Scudo was a major critic of the Revue des Deux Mondes - cf. Caruselli, S. (ed), "op cit", vol II, p 398 (article: "Duprez")
3.^ Celletti, R.,op cit, p 166, note 1.
4.^ Caruselli, S. (ed), op cit, vol II, p 506, ad nomen
5.^ in this Italian version of Gluck’s opera, the parts of taille , were, as then rather usual, performed by baritonal tenors: Nozzari sang the role of Agamemnon and Gaetano Chizzola that of Patrocle, while García himself was entrusted with the haute-contre part of Achille .
6.^ this opera was a real festival of baritonal tenors: besides the three cited in the preceding note, there appeared Domenico Donzelli, too, in the rôle of Tideo; a child of Medea’s was mimed by a five-year-old little girl who was to become most famous by the name of Maria Malibran.
7.^ it was, in fact, a rearrangement of the dramma per musica "Alonso e Cora", premièred at Milan's La Scala on 26 December 1803.
James Radomski: Manuel García (1775 - 1832); chronicle of the life of a bel canto tenor at the dawn of romanticism. Oxford; New York: Oxford Univ. Press 2000. ISBN 0-19-816373-8
Teresa Radomski (Ed.): L'isola disabitata. Partitur. Middleton, Wisc.: A-R Ed., 2006. Serie: Recent researches in the music of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; 42. ISBN 0-89579-594-9; ISBN 9-780-89679-594-6.
Rodolfo Celletti, Storia del belcanto, Discanto Edizioni, Fiesole, 1983
Salvatore Caruselli (ed), Grande enciclopedia della musica lirica, Longanesi & C. Periodici S.p.A., Rome
This article incorporates text from the public domain 1907 edition of The Nuttall Encyclopædia.
 External links
Manuel García Biography and free download of music.
Amadeus Almanac, accessed 1 March 2009