Felice Varesi

Felice Varesi

Italian opera singer of French origin, baritone
Country: Italy

Felice Varesi: An Italian Opera Baritone

Felice Varesi was an Italian opera singer of French origin, known for his baritone voice. He was born in 1813 in Calais, France. Varesi made his debut in the opera scene in 1834 in Varese, Lombardy, Italy. Soon after, he started performing all over Italy, appearing in Florence, Genoa, Perugia, Modena, and Rome.

In 1841, Varesi made his debut at La Scala, Milan, and from 1842 to 1847, he performed at the Kärntnertortheater in Vienna. It was Varesi who became the first performer of the role of Antonio in Gaetano Donizetti's opera "Linda di Chamounix". He also became the first to portray the characters of Rigoletto, Macbeth, and Germont in Giuseppe Verdi's operas, particularly La traviata. However, the latter role was a failure for Varesi.

It is known that when creating the character of Macbeth, Verdi sought advice from Varesi, and later he presented three different versions of the opera's final scene for Varesi to choose from. In 1864, Varesi arrived in London, where he introduced his interpretation of Rigoletto to the British public.

Varesi truly impressed many with his musicality, vocal abilities, refinement, and intelligence. He paved the way for the so-called "Verdian" baritones, including Francesco Graziani, Leone Giraldoni, and Antonio Cotogni. During that period, Varesi's main rival on the opera stage was Giorgio Ronconi, the creator of the Verdi character Nabucco.

Felice Varesi was married to the opera singer Cecilia Boccabadatti Gazzudo, a soprano. Their daughter Elena, who was also a soprano, opened a vocal school in Chicago after ending her own stage career.