Personalities | Giovanni Battista Rubini | Early Romantic | Opera
The Italian tenor Giovanni Battista Rubini was said to ‘enchant’ listeners with his powerful yet sweet and subtle voice. He was also able to move his audiences to tears with his famous musical ‘sob’. Bellini created several roles for Rubini, including Gualtieri in Il pirata, Elvino in La sonnambula and Arturo in I puritani. The qualities of Rubini’s voice greatly influenced Italian Romantic opera, especially when it was showcased in Bellini’s supremely smooth and tuneful operas. Rubini made his debut at 20 in 1814 in Pavia when he sang in Lagrime di una vedova (‘A Widow’s Tears’, 1808) by Pietro Generali (1773–1832). He performed in Naples for 13 years, 1816–29, and also at La Scala, Milan in 1818 and 1825–31, the Théâtre Italien in Paris in 1825 and 1831–43, London 1831–43, and St Petersburg in 1843 and 1844.
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