Dictionary of London Immigrants |||

1840-1850 - Haymarket (Westminster)

Tags: Music, Italy, place: Agnani

Baritone Filippo Coletti was born on 11 May 1811 in Anagni, near Rome. He studied at Real Collegio di Musica in Naples, making his debut at the Teatro del Fondo in 1834 in Rossini’s Il turco in Italia. He started his career singing baritone coloratura roles in Rossini and Donizetti, before becoming associated with Verdi’s repertory. His talents attracted the attention of Pierre-François Laporte, impresario of Her Majesty’s Theatre, Haymarket, who in 1840 engaged him to replace the popular favourite (and expensive) Antonio Tamburini. It led to a rowdy disturbance occasioned by the latter’s followers who resented his non-engagement for the 1841 season. The chaotic proceedings which lasted for two or three evenings forced Laporte to yield to their wishes and Coletti returned to Naples. By 1846 he was back in London being re-engaged at Her Majesty’s by Benjamin Lumley (Laporte’s successor). For the next four seasons he remained the leading Italian baritone on the London stage, the only singer who was able to rouse Thomas Carlyle’s enthusiasm. Coletti’s performance of Francesco in Verdi’s I masnadieri, conducted by the composer himself, was a triumph. Coletti returned to Italy in 1850. He died in June 1894 in Anagni.

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