Nov 13, 2015

Eric Marshall (Baritone) (March 1891, Kensington, London, England - July 8, 1961, Westminster, London, England, UK)

His real name was Eric David Marks. He was a nephew of the known French conductor and operatic composer André Messager (1853-1929). He was active in the 19th county of London regiment as an officer. Then he trained his voice under Jean de Reszke in Paris. In 1921 he undertook an England tour together with the famous prima donna Luisa Tetrazzini. As an opera singer he appeared during several seasons at the Covent Garden in London under sir Thomas Beecham. It is possible that he appeared at Italian opera theaters under the artistic name Silvio Sideli. Beside his activity on the stage he had a significant career at the concert hall. He made made guest appearances in England, Paris and Berlin. At London he was also to be heard in musical Comedies, among other things in 1926 in ‘’The Cat and the Fiddle’’. He recorded some early acoustic recordings for Vocalion, mostly songs, but also opera arias in Italian and French. On Vocalion he sang several songs written by Guy d'Hardelot. A baritone Silvio Sideli also recorded, the same sangs of Guy d'Hardelot in Italy for the Vocalion. On the other hand, in 1921, a baritone called Silvio Sideli made records for Columbia in Italy.

Chronology of some appearances

1920's England, Paris and Berlin


Vocalion, London 1922-11?
Nozze di Figaro (Mozart): Non più andrai C-01085 02994

HMV, London 1925-02-26 (ac)
Du bist wie eine Blume (Schumann) E380 (7-42091)
Die Lotosblume (Schumann) E380 (7-42090) 

HMV, London 1926-12-30
The heart's secret (Rachmaninov) E455 (6-2746)
In the silent night (Rachmaninov) E455 (6-2747)

Nov 12, 2015

Violet Essex (Soprano) ( England Oct. 19, 1893 - Los Angeles County California, USA Jan. 31, 1941)

During The Great war, everyone needed lighter music, especially lively ditties from popular musicals. The talented English soprano Violet Essex, known as "Vera Desmond", recorded mostly lighter music. Under her own name Violet recorded Arditi's "Il bacio" and Musetta's Waltz from La Boheme and dazzled in Gilbert and Sullivan operas that HMV would begin to record late in the war. As “Vera” she recorded current tunes such as Dorothy Forster's "Take me to flowerland with you" as well as English songs of the ages "Where the bee sucks" by Arne and "Orpheus with his lute" by Sullivan.


Columbia, London 1912?
Il bacio (Arditi) 28197

HMV, London 1915-02-26
Bohème (Puccini): Musetta's waltz song 2-3075 Ho1214b

Norman Allin (Bass) (19 November 1884, Ashton-under-Lyne - 27 October 1973, Pontrilas)

He studied at the Royal Manchester College of Music under John Acton (singing) and Walter Carroll (theory). He wed the singer Edith Clegg in 1912 and went to London, where the conductor Henry J. Wood heard him and planned to involve him in the 1914 Norwich Festival. Unfortunately, the festival was interrupted by the outbreak of World War One. However, Allin did sing the Handel aria "O ruddier than the cherry", from Acis and Galatea, at a Promenade Concert for Henry Wood during the war. (He was not called up for military service owing to the fact he was classified in a low medical grade.)
Sir Thomas Beecham auditioned him and at once offered him the title role in Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, but Allin felt a less challenging debut was needed. So, his first appearance for Beecham was as the Old Hebrew in Samson et Dalila on 15 October 1916. With the Beecham Opera Company he appeared, too, in Verdi's Aida. He first sang at a Royal Philharmonic concert, again under Beecham's baton, in 1918. He later appeared as Boris, as Gurnemanz in Wagner's Parsifal, Hagen in Wagner's Götterdämmerung and Baron Ochs in Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. In 1921, he became founder-member of the British National Opera Company.
Allin created the role of Sir John Falstaff in Holst's 1925 opera At the Boar's Head. In 1934, he appeared in the initial Glyndebourne Festival production under Fritz Busch and Carl Ebert of Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro. Henry Wood later wrote (in 1938) that had Allin not possessed such a retiring disposition, he might have become one of the world's most celebrated operatic basses, and that even so, his stage roles numbered almost 50. During the Second World War (1939-1945), he was a member of the Carl Rosa Opera Company. This company gave London seasons, during which Allin appeared alongside fellow singers Joan Hammond, Gwen Catley, Heddle Nash, Dennis Noble, Parry Jones and Tudor Davies.
Allin's career was not restricted to opera, however, and he was perhaps best known to contemporary music-goers as a concert recitalist and an oratorio singer. He appeared before the Royal Philharmonic Society in a Royal Choral Society Beethoven Missa Solemnis in 1927 under Sir Hugh Allen. In 1932, after giving his 270th performance of Handel's Messiah, at a Halle concert, he decided not to sing the part again.
He always gave the greatest satisfaction when he sang in music festivals, and Wood felt that he could trust him with anything. He was one of the soloists in the original line-up for Vaughan Williams's Serenade to Music on 5 October 1938. Allin's line goes down to low D; the words set for his solo are 'The motions of his spirit are dull as night, And his affections dark as Erebus.' He was also in the performance of it for the Royal Philharmonic Society, on behalf of the Musicians' Benevolent Fund, in February 1940.
In 1934 he took part in a seven-month operatic tour in Australia, appearing mainly in Melbourne and Sydney. On his return he was offered a professorship of singing at the Royal Academy of Music, and took it up in autumn 1935. Later he also accepted a similar appointment at the Royal Manchester College, which he held jointly with the other, only resigning the Manchester post in 1942 owing to pressure of work in London.
Among Allin's pupils were Jean Allister, Pamela Bowden, Richard Lewis, Norman Lumsden and Ian Wallace (who followed his teacher into the role of Bartolo at Glyndebourne).
Allin's voice possessed a depth, authority and resonance rare in modern-day British basses, the preferred style of voice now being lighter and less magisterial. His singing technique was exemplary and his vocal production was smooth and extremely attractive in tone, as his recordings verify.

Chronology of some appearances

1916 Beecham Opera Company
1922-1929 British National Opera Company
1939-1945 Carl Rosa Opera Company


Columbia, London 1917?
Philémon et Baucis (Gounod): Vulcan's song 713 76069

Columbia, London 1919?
Faust (Gounod): Serenade 747 76444

Columbia, London 1924?
Vêpres Siciliennes (Verdi): O fair Palermo L1553 AX279
Siimone Boccanegra (Verdi): The broken spirit L1553 AX280

Columbia, London 1926-01?
Zauberflöte (Mozart): Within this hallowed dwelling 9802 WAX1266

Columbia, London 1927?
Fidelio (Beethoven): Life is nothing without money  D1592 WA5621

Nov 8, 2015

Arturo Rizzo (Bass)

He studied singing at the Conservatory of Neaples and made his debut in 1903 at the Teatro Verdi of Brindisi in ''Rigoletto''.

Chronology of some appearances

1903 Brindisi  Teatro Verdi  Rigoletto (Sparafucile)
1905 Catanzaro  Teatro Comunale  Boheme (Colline)
1907 Moghileff  Teatro Nazionale  Trovatore (Ferrando)
1909 Livorno  Politeama  Boheme (Colline)
1911 Catanzaro  Teatro Comunale  Faust (Mefistofele)
1913 Buenos Ayres  Teatro Coliseo  Barbiere di Siviglia (Don Basilio)
1914 Roma  Teatro Costanzi  Ballo in Maschera (Tom)


Phonodisc, Milano 1908/1909
Puritani (Bellini): Suoni la tromba with Ernesto Caronna 206