The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Opera

By John Warrack; Ewan West | Go to book overview

B

Baba the Turk. A bearded lady from a circus (mez) in Stravinsky The Rake's Progress.

Baccaloni, Salvatore (b Rome, 14 Apr. 1900; d New York, 31 Dec. 1969). Italian bass. Treble, Sistine Chapel. Studied Rome with Kaschmann.Début Rome, Ad., 1922 (Dr Bartolo, Barbiere). Milan, S, 1926, where after three seasons in normal bass repertory, he specialized in buffo roles. London, CG, 1928- 9. Gly. 1936-9, Leporello, Dr Bartolo, Osmin, Alfonso, and Pasquale (his greatest role). US début, Chicago 1930; New York, M, 1940-62. Appeared in every major opera-house, and was considered by many the greatest buffo since Lablache. After his retirement from opera, appeared in comedy films. (R)

Bach, Johann Christian (b Leipzig, 5 Sept. 1735; d London, 1 Jan. 1782). German composer. Youngest son of Johann Sebastian and Anna Magdalena Bach. After study with his brother Carl Philipp Emmanuel, in 1754 he travelled to Italy, producing his first opera, Artaserse, in 1760. Further successes led to an invitation to come to London, where he became composer at the H. Orione, performed in Feb. 1763 before George III, was enthusiastically received, as was Zanaida ( 1763), leading to an appointment as music master to the Queen: he was now one of the most active figures in London's musical life. Bach's subsequent stage works had mixed fortunes. However, an invitation to compose for the Mannheim court resulted in his two most consummately fashioned works, Temistocle ( 1772) and Lucio Silla ( 1775). His last London opera, La demenza di Scipione ( 1778), also fared well, though following the rise in popularity of opera buffa, his star began to wane and he died relatively forgotten.

His cosmopolitan education, with its combination of German and Italian influences, perhaps explains why Bach developed such a distinctive style in an era of great uniformity. One of his most important influences was on Mozart, whom he met in both London and Paris and with whose early works he shares several obvious points of stylistic similarity.

His brother Johann Christoph ( 1732-95) also wrote some successful dramatic works to texts by Herder and others. Their brother Wilhelm Friedemann ( 1710-84) is the subject of an opera by Graener ( 1931). Their father Johann Sebastian ( 1685-1750) is the subject of an opera by Emil Ábrányi ( 1947).

Bacquier. Gabriel (b Béziers, 17 May 1924). French baritone. Studied Paris. Début Nice 1950 ( Landowski Le fou, with José Beckmans's Compagnie Lyrique Française). Brussels, M, 1953-6; Paris, OC, 1956, O since 1958. Gly. 1962 as Almaviva ( Mozart); London, CG, 1964 ( Ford, Malatesta, Scarpia, etc.). New York. M, 1964. Aix Fest. as Don Giovanni, Falstaff ( Verdi). An elegant and stylish artist. (R)

Bahr-Mildenburg, Anna (b Vienna, 29 Nov. 1872; d Vienna, 27 Jan. 1947). Austrian soprano. Studied Vienna with Papier, Hamburg with Pollini. Début Hamburg 1895 ( Brtinnhilde), cond. Mahler, whose protügüe and mistress she became. Endowed with a magnificent voice and physique, she was musical, impassioned, and a superb actress. Soon became leading Wagner soprano. Bayreuth 1897 ( Kundry); also 1909-14. London, CG, 1906 ( Isolde, Elisabeth), and first London Klytemnästra 1910. Vienna 1898-1916. Darmstadt 1915-16 as actress. Vienna 1919- 20. After retirement taught, but sang final Klytemnästra, Augsburg 1930. (R)

Bailey, Norman (b Birmingham, 23 Mar. 1933). English baritone. Studied Vienna with Vogel, Patzak, and Witt. Début Vienna 1959 ( Tobias Mill, Cambiale di matrimonio). Linz 1960-3; Wuppertal 1963-4; Düsseldorf 1964-7. London, SW, from 1967 (début Manchester as Mozart Almaviva), then Sachs in the memorable prod. of Die Meistersinger under Goodall 1968. London, C ( Wotan, Gunther, Pizarro, Kutuzov, Gremin). Has appeared in the Wagner repertory at London, CG, and Bayreuth. Milan, S, 1967; New York, M, 1976. Sang Oroveso ( Norma) for O North, 1993. His Sachs, wise, human and benevolent, and his Wotan, both magisterial and moving, displayed an inherent musicality and feeling for the text. (R)

Baker, (Dame) Janet (b Hatfield, 21 Aug. 1933). English mezzo-soprano. Studied London with Helene Isepp. Début OUOC

-28-

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The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Opera
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Key to Vocal Compasses x
  • Abbreviations xi
  • A 1
  • B 28
  • C 72
  • D 112
  • E 144
  • F 157
  • G 181
  • H 218
  • I 241
  • J 251
  • K 259
  • L 277
  • M 305
  • N 356
  • O 370
  • P 384
  • Q 419
  • R 421
  • S 449
  • T 505
  • U 525
  • V 529
  • W 545
  • X 563
  • Y 564
  • Z 565
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