Review of a dictionary of Basque singers

Nino Dentici: Diccionario Biográfico de Cantantes Vascos de Ópera y Zarzuela, 285 pages
Edita: Bizkaiko Foru Aldundia – Diputación de Bizkaia, 2003

The book is a dictionary of Basque singers from all over the world. It is arranged from A to Z as expected. It is in Spanish, except for foreword that is written both in Basque and Spanish. I thought it did not have a table of contents listing all the singers, but I was mistaken, the front and the back covers of the book have all the singers listed in alphabetical order. It is true that it is difficult to follow. The singers are listed by their Basque name and I had a hard time finding de Gaviria, who is listed under Jesús Aguirregaviria. The same can be said of Josefa Gassier, who is listed as Josefa Cruz de Gassier, and by the way she has the longest biographical notes.

Singers such as Barroilhet, Bonnehée, Cazenave, de Gogorza and Gozategui would have been surprised to know that they would be included in a Spanish language Basque singers dictionary. Unfortunately there was not much on Pedro Lafuente, who remains a mystery as nobody knows if he ever recorded. Some say that the records made by Paolo Masini, who nobody knows who he is, are really from Lafuente. Mystery solved, meanwhile: Paolo Masini was actually a nom-du-disque of Lafuente! The book has also a quite long article on the tenor Altube, a great dramatic tenor who never recorded; and it corrects mistakes that I had on the site. In short a very important book to have.

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