Dino Borgioli's biography and repertory

Although Borgioli had always wanted to be a musician, he first obtained a law degree so as to please his parents. But before long, he studied voice with Eugenio Giacchetti in his native Florence.

Most everybody copies from Kutsch & Riemens that Borgioli made his debut as Arturo in 1914, at one "Teatro Corso" in Milano; but since those quotations are the sole references to that "Teatro Corso", I strongly doubt that such a theater existed, and hence that Borgioli could make his debut there. I think his real debut was in La favorite in 1917, actually in Milano, but at the Dal Verme. He went on to sing Arturo (yes!) in Rome, Genova and Palermo, and in 1918, he already made his Scala debut as Ernesto, and at the end of the year went to the San Carlo in Naples for five months.

In 1919/20, he was in Spain and Portugal for the first time, earning clamorous success (he would return several times). In 1921, he toured Argentina; 1922 saw him in Monte Carlo and Venice, and in 1924, after a return to La Scala with Barbiere and Sonnambula, he embarked on a six-month tour to Australia with Nellie Melba. In 1925, he made his debut at Covent Garden – and was a flop in Lucia and Barbiere. He succeeded as Duca, however. In 1926, he was in Brazil (both Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo) and in Cairo. In 1927, a second visit to Covent Garden; this time, he did not please as Duca and was replaced by Tom Burke. Later that year, he traveled to South America again – Santiago de Chile, where his success was so big that he returned the following year.

In 1928, he made his first US tour, with concerts only; his US stage debut took place during his second visit, in 1932, where inaugurated the War Memorial Opera House on October 15th, as Cavaradossi to Claudia Muzio's Tosca (a recording of act 1 has been preserved; poor sound, but spectacular singing, and it proves that Borgioli's voice was huge, something that I'd never have figured from his recordings). He was a big success in San Francisco, stayed for the whole season, and returned in 1933, before continuing to Chicago. 1933 was also the year of his Opéra-Comique debut In 1934, he finally had really huge success at Covent Garden, in La Cenerentola with Conchita Supervia; he sang at the Salzburg Festival (the second time already), in San Francisco again, and on the last evening of the year, he made his Met debut as Rodolfo – a failure like no other in his career, and his one and only performance at the Met. In 1935, another visit to Paris for his debut at the Opéra, he returned to Salzburg, and to Covent Garden; on that occasion, he settled permanently in London. In 1936, another visit to the Paris Opéra; in 1937, debuts at the Glyndebourne Festival and at the Théâtre de la Monnaie. In 1938, he was in San Francisco once more, and he concluded his operatic career in Glyndebourne in 1939, as Don Ottavio.

He appeared in concert for ten more years. After WWII, he was the founder and director of the New London Opera Company, which performed at the Cambridge Theatre.

Reference 1: Bob Rideout, reference 2: Kutsch & Riemens, reference 3, reference 4: archives of the Metropolitan Opera


La favorite, Milano, 23 September 1917
I puritani, Genova, 12 January 1918
Don Pasquale, Milano, 28 September 1918
La sonnambula, Bologna, 22 October 1918
Manon, Palermo, 13 March 1919
Lucia di Lammermoor, Palermo, 2 April 1919
La bohème, Palermo, 4 May 1919
Faust, Lisboa, 25 December 1920
Il barbiere di Siviglia, 18 January 1921
Rigoletto, Buenos Aires, 16 June 1921
Grisélidis, Buenos Aires, 14 August 1921
Les contes d'Hoffmann, Buenos Aires, 25 August 1921
Les pêcheurs de perles, Bari, 27 February 1926
Un caso singolar, Rio de Janeiro, 30 July 1926
Martha, Torino, 29 March 1927
Chopin, Santiago, 19 October 1927
Boris Godunov, London, 28 June 1928
Adriana Lecouvreur, Santiago, 1 September 1928
La traviata, Roma, 1 January 1929
L'amico Fritz, Roma, 24 January 1929
Le comte Ory, Torino, 18 February 1930
Don Giovanni, Milano, 5 April 1931
Falstaff, Milano, 18 April 1931
L'elisir d'amore, Genova, 28 January 1932
Il matrimonio segreto, Geneva March 1932
Tosca, San Francisco, 15 October 1932
La Cenerentola, Firenze, 23 May 1933
Cavalleria rusticana, San Francisco, 21 November 1933
Madama Butterfly, San Francisco, 22 November 1934
I wish to thank Tom Kaufman for having put at my disposal a copy of his unpublished chronology on Borgioli.

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