Rinaldo Grassi

4 October 1885 Milano – 14 October 1946 Torino

Picture of Rinaldo Grassi
Rodolfo Rinaldo Babila Grassi (stage name Rinaldo Grassi) was born in Milano on October 4th, 1885, son of Agostino Grassi and Giuseppina Varesi. Soon his father, a modest craftsman, started him off on the craft as a fitter apprentice. Grassi soon left the modest workshop on Via del Bollo and at seventeen he applied himself to singing.

We know for sure that Grassi entered maestro Leoni's school of music in Milan in 1902. Unfortunately his studies were very short. Two years later in 1904, he was asked to sing Bohème and Traviata at the Coccia in Novara.

His debut was on December 28th, 1904 as Rodolfo. His success was so great that he was immediately in demand everywhere. He then sang in Bergamo (Cavalleria rusticana), Treviso, Napoli, Palermo (Dannazione di Faust), Milano (at the Dal Verme in Amica, and at La Scala on December 29th, 1907 in Tosca with Eugenia Burzio, Pasquale Amato and Toscanini).

During the 1907/08 season at La Scala, Grassi sang in Gioconda (with Burzio), and Mefistofele (with Shaljapin).

He had made his debut in South America the preceding summer at the Teatro de la Opera in Buenos Aires in Madama Butterfly with Maria Farneti and De Luca.

On February 6th, 1909, Grassi sang at the Met in Madama Butterfly with Emmy Destinn, and Amato.

On October 24th, 1909, he took part in a concert with Armida Parsi Pettinella, Maria Farneti, Titta Ruffo and Mascagni, organized at the Racconigi castle given for the Czar of Russia.

Step by step, his repertory grew: La Wally (Napoli 1907), Manon Lescaut (Buenos Aires, de la Opera 1907), Loreley (Buenos Aires, Colón 1907), Gli ugonotti (Napoli, San Carlo 1914), and Aida (Buenos Aires, Colón 1914).

Together with Farneti and Stracciari, he was one of the interpreters of the first Italian performance of Madame Sans-Gêne (Torino, Regio 1915), and of a revival of Il tabarro with Segura-Tallien and Maria Carena (Rome, Costanzi 1920).

During the last years of his career, he sang Alvaro (Torino, Politeama Chiarella 1919) and Don Carlo (Torino, Regio 1923). Grassi retired in 1924, after the first signs of vocal decline when he sang in Torino (La fanciulla del West and Falstaff).

Grassi retired to Torino without temptation of playing the teacher. He died in Torino unexpectedly on October 14th, 1946.
Fernando Battaglia

Rinaldo Grassi singsLa Gioconda: Enzo Grimaldo, with Pasquale Amato
In RA format

Rinaldo Grassi singsCavalleria rusticana: Tu qui, Santuzza?, with Lina Pasini Vitale
In RA format

Rinaldo Grassi singsManon Lescaut: Donna non vidi mai
In RA format

Rinaldo Grassi singsL'Africaine: O paradiso
In RA format

Rinaldo Grassi singsMefistofele: Dai campi, dai prati
In RA format
I wish to thank Richard J Venezia for the recording (Africaine).
I wish to thank Vladimir Efimenko for the recording (Mefistofele).
Pathé, Milano, 1906? 86170 Aida (Verdi): Morir, sì pura e bella 86170 86171 Rigoletto (Verdi): È il sol dell'anima 86171 Fonotipia, Milano, 13 March 1908 xPh3077 Pagliacci (Leoncavallo): Vesti la giubba 92156 Fonotipia, Milano, 16 March 1908 xPh3087 Rigoletto (Verdi): La donna è mobile 92157 Fonotipia, Milano, 28 March 1908 xPh3108 Africaine (Meyerbeer): O paradiso unpublished Fonotipia, Milano, 30 March 1908 xPh3109 Tosca (Puccini): Recondita armonia unpublished Fonotipia, Milano, 21 October 1908 xPh3550 Africaine (Meyerbeer): O paradiso 92262 xPh3551 Manon Lescaut (Puccini): Donna non vidi mai 92260 Fonotipia, Milano, 23 October 1908 xPh3557 Tosca (Puccini): Recondita armonia unpublished xPh3558 Cavalleria rusticana (Mascagni): Mamma, quel vino unpublished xPh3558-2 Cavalleria rusticana (Mascagni): Mamma, quel vino unpublished xPh3559 Mefistofele (Boito): Dai campi, dai prati 92261 Fonotipia, Milano, 22 June 1909 xxPh3968 Cavalleria rusticana (Mascagni): Tu qui, Santuzza? unpublished (w. Pasini-Vitale) xxPh3968-2 Cavalleria rusticana (Mascagni): Tu qui, Santuzza? 74149, 5013E (w. Pasini-Vitale) xxPh3969 Cavalleria rusticana (Mascagni): Ah! lo vedi (w. Pasini-Vitale) unpublished xxPh3969-2 Cavalleria rusticana (Mascagni): Ah! lo vedi (w. Pasini-Vitale) 74150, 5013E Fonotipia, Milano, 1 July 1909 xPh4031 Faust (Gounod): All'erta, all'erta (w. Pasini-Vitale & Luppi) unpublished xPh4031-2 Faust (Gounod): All'erta, all'erta (w. Pasini-Vitale & Luppi) 92633 xPh4032 Mefistofele (Boito): Dimmi se credi, Enrico (w. Pasini-Vitale) 92567 xPh4033 Mefistofele (Boito): Strano figlio del Caos (w. Luppi) 92568 Fonotipia, Milano, 2 July 1909 xPh4035 Bohème (Puccini): O soave fanciulla (w. Pasini-Vitale) unpublished Fonotipia, Milano, 3 July 1909 xPh4044 Gioconda (Ponchielli): Enzo Grimaldo (w. Amato) 92565 xPh4045 Gioconda (Ponchielli): O grido di quest'anima (w. Amato) unpublished xPh4045-2 Gioconda (Ponchielli): O grido di quest'anima (w. Amato) 92566 Fonotipia, Milano, 19 December 1911 xPh4786 Pufferl (Eysler): Terzetto delle tre grazie 92874 (w. Perretti & Vecla) xPh4787 Pufferl (Eysler): Terzetto dell' abbigliamento 92872 (w. Perretti & Vecla)

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