Franco Perulli

12 May 1899 Lecce – 23 May 1989 Lecce

Franco Perulli sings Linda di Chamounix: Da quel dì che t'incontrai ... A consolarmi affrettati, with Lina Pagliughi

Perulli studied voice in Lecce, at the Conservatorio San Pietro di Majella in Naples, and ultimately with several teachers in Milano, among them: Riccardo Pettinella, who was also the maestro of Tito Schipa, who was from Lecce, as well, and with whom Perulli became friends.

Perulli made his debut already in 1922 in Torino at the Teatro Balbo as Almaviva – I suppose before finishing his studies, because it wasn't until 1926 that his career took steam with a Guillaume Tell in Trieste (given his repertory, he will likely have sung Ruodi). He was busy until 1938 throughout Italy, mostly at smaller theaters: Teatro Adriano and Teatro Quirino in Rome, Teatro Margherita and Politeama in Genova, Teatro Puccini in Milano, Teatro del Giglio in Lucca, Teatro della Pergola in Florence, Teatro Storchi in Modena, Teatro Biondo in Palermo, Livorno, Cagliari, Cremona, Jesi, Viterbo, Messina, Bergamo, Ravenna, Forlì, Catanzaro; but also at La Fenice in Venice (Il finto Arlecchino by Malipiero, 1934), at the San Carlo in Naples (Almaviva, Marchetto in La baronessa di Carini by Mulè and Lucenzio in La bisbetica domata by Persico in February 1932; Nemorino in September 1936), at the Petruzzelli in Bari (Nemorino and Almaviva in fall 1931) or the Verdi in Trieste (Carlo in Linda di Chamounix in August 1933). He was particularly successful in Bolzano and Merano in Il matrimonio segreto in 1935. Abroad, he sang in Lisbon, Nice, Malta, Cairo, Lugano, Zadar or in various places in the Netherlands (1929).

In 1937, he joined an opera company headed by conductor Alberto Erede that went on a long tour of Europe (starting with Così fan tutte in Vienna) and the United States (for instance at the Wilson Theater in New York City). Perulli stayed in the US, singing for instance in Washington or San Francisco, and for several seasons with the touring San Carlo Opera Company.

He returned to Italy only in 1947, resuming his career in a similar way as ten years before; worth noting his participation at the festivities on the 100th recurrence of Donizetti's death in Bergamo, where Perulli appeared in Betly, with Margherita Carosio and under Franco Capuana's baton. He was generally a belcanto specialist, and his most frequently performed roles were Nemorino and Almaviva; he also sang Ernesto, Edgardo, Contino (Crispino e la comare), Edoardo Milfort (La cambiale di matrimonio), Fernand, Duca, Fra Diavolo, Fritz, Alfredo or Pinkerton. In concert, he specialized in folk songs in Puglian dialect.

In the 1950s, he already san in smaller venues (Chianciano, Siracusa, Lecce), but occasionally, he continued to appear into the 1970s, while being busy as a voice teacher in his native Lecce.

His records are few and rare; he also recorded some of his dialect songs for the Italian radio.

with his wife (left) and his sister (right)

Reference 1 and picture source (center), reference 2 and picture source (top and bottom), reference 3: the fantastic website of Roberto Marcocci, reference 4, reference 5: Kutsch & Riemens

Many thanks to Anton Bieber for the recording plus label scans.

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