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Domenico Donzelli Suggest updates

Born Bergamo, 2 February 1790.

Died Bologna, 31 March 1873.

Italian tenor.

Donzelli was one of the most notable tenors of his generation. He enjoyed a lengthy career, creating several new works, particularly Pollione in Norma at La Scala (1831). He sang leading roles in many operas by Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini, Paër, Pacini and Mercadante. He toured to Edinburgh as a leading member of the De Begnis company in 1832, his roles there including Almaviva not just in Barbiere, but, perhaps surprisingly, also in The Marriage of Figaro. He also played the title role in Don Giovanni.

He trained under Bianchi, in Bergamo, then in Naples with Viganoni and Crivelli. His debut had been in his home town in Mayr's Elisa (1808). During the first decade of his career he specialized in the highly decorated style of singing composed by Rossini, including Argirio in Tancredi, Bertrando in L'inganno felice and Ramiro in Cenerentola. He also appeared as Torvaldo  in the 1815 premiere (in Rome) of Torvaldo e Dorliska. The last new role he created, in Milan at the end of his career in 1841, was the heroine's father Don Ruiz in Donizetti's Maria Padilla, a rare instance of an opera with a tenorial mad scene.

His voice gradually took on greater power and darker tones. In 1825 he moved to Paris, making his debut as Rossini's Otello before creating the role of Belfiore in his coronation opera Il viaggio a Reims. His Paris appearances also included the premieres of Clari (Halévy 1829) and Fausto (Bertin 1831).

At the King's Theatre in London he appeared in the British premieres of Bellini's Il pirata (1830) and La straniera (1832). Between those he returned to Italy, creating Pollione in Norma at La Scala in 1831. He repeated Pollione in several Italian centres, including Venice, Bologna, Trieste and Sinigaglia, as well as introducing the work to London in 1833.

(Main source: New Grove Dictionary of Opera).

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