Personalities | Giovanni Davide | Early Romantic | Opera
The tenor Giovanni Davide, son of another Italian tenor, Giacomo Davide (1750–1830), made his debut at 18 in Milan, in Simon Mayr’s (1763–1845) Adelaide di Guesclino (1799) and 15 years later created the role of Narciso in Rossini’s Il turco in Italia. Rossini was impressed enough to write other parts for Davide in Otello and La donna del lago, among others. Davide was also in demand by Mayr, Donizetti and Giovanni Pacini the Sicilian composer; the tenor created roles in operas by all of them. Davide’s voice was described as ‘full-toned and extremely flexible’; he was able to cover three octaves by skilful use of falsetto, in which the normal range of the tenor voice was extended upwards by partial use of the vocal chords. Davide retired from the opera stage in 1839, and then travelled to Russia, where he took up a position as manager of the St Petersburg Opera.
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