A front-ranking representative of that class of large-voiced Italian baritones so much in evidence during the first part of the twentieth century, Carlo Galeffi left a legacy of important recordings to supplement the memories of appreciative audiences. The singer's reputation was further secured by his being a prominent artist at several major theaters during an important period in operatic history. While his was not the brazen instrument of a Ruffo or a Stracciari, its slightly woolly timbre was guided by a bold, imaginative musical mind. Following private study, Galeffi made his stage debut at Rome's Teatro Adriano singing Enrico in a 1904 production of Lucia di Lammermoor. Although appreciated for his promise in Rome, Galeffi awaited acclaim at Naples' Teatro San Carlo a half decade later when his Rigoletto and Amonasro met with critical favor. Over the next few years, he sang in several world theaters in Europe, South America, and North America, including the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires and the Metropolitan Opera in New York. In 1912, he began forging his most important theatrical relationship when he made his La Scala debut as Rodrigo. Thereafter, he was heard as a leading baritone over 17 seasons, concluding his association in 1938 when he was 56. In Chicago, where Giacomo Rimini was all but house baritone, Galeffi was heard between 1919 and 1921. He also resumed performances in Buenos Aires late in his career, appearing there as late as 1952. During his career, Galeffi became known for his performances of the great Verdi baritone roles where his adherence to an unfailing legato and skillful use of vocal coloring placed him among the singing elite. In addition to established roles, Galeffi performed in contemporary works; in particular, he sang in the premieres of two works by Mascagni, Isabeau and Parisina, operas favored in Italy but seldom heard elsewhere. Several recordings assure that Galeffi's name will not become a mere historical footnote. His elder Germont to the Violetta of Mercedes Capsir rivals his powerful work in a recording of Andrea Chénier made with Lina Bruna Rasa. Likewise, Galeffi's Tonio in a Pagliacci with tenor Francesco Merli and soprano Rosetta Pampanini is a vivid, suavely sung performance that is undiminished in impact.
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