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Subject: Robert Merrill - A Verdi Baritone?
From: Roberta PRADA <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Roberta PRADA <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 31 Mar 2012 09:53:05 -0400
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> . Robert Merrill - A Verdi Baritone?
Merrill once told my friend Francis in a phone conversation that after him, people would have confusion boat who is a Verdi baritone, because he is voice was much darker than the ones for whom these Verdi roles were written. If we go back to the beginning, the roles in question were written for Battistini. He had a high, bright sound. However he was not a really barytone Martin, I think. Go back and listen to his recordings. There are many.

Verdi asked Faure to sing several of his roles, and indeed, when he started on Otello he was going to call it Iago and have J. Faure as the star. Faure refused the roles offered him by Verdi because they all had too high a tessitura. Faure was probably what we would call now a Bass- Baritone. 

So there you have it: the source of the confusion. Unfortunately there is only one very late recording of Faure, and I understand that is now is dispute. He was considered the finest of his day and a consummate actor. He sang from the age of five when he began his musical life in a maitrise, and it went on except for the year or two of his voice change, when he learned an instrument while waiting for his voice to settle. 

RP



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