Carlo Baucardé

1825 Florence – 22 January 1883 Florence

Picture of Baucardé

... for example, about Il trovatore and the tenor Baucardé, many legends and anecdotes exist that stay vividly alive in the memories of our masses; many still remember those today. I will quote only one. One evening at the Teatro Pagliano in Florence, Baucardé created wild enthusiasm by his intense singing of Ah! Questa infame l'onore ha venduto, so that both the spectators of the parterre and the Gods managed to get a third repeat of the piece; from that sensational tumult, it was feared that a sanguinary episode of the old factions of the Guelfi and Ghibellini was born again. Baucardé was the singer who knew how to genially touch the heart of the people. His art was instinctive, prompting the emotion and expression of a musical phrase to generate powerful effects. One cannot say that he had a beautiful voice. He knew how to modulate it with sweetness, gradually toning it down to a bare thread. His mezza voce was a dream. I remember an old Baucardé, already retired from the stage since 1864, in Milan. One evening at the Café Martini, then the meeting place of all great and small singers, retired or still in activity, he was humming in low voice Spirto gentil from La favorita; suddenly the people in the café turned to him attracted by this soft paradisiacal singing. Since then, I have not heard any tenor capable of singing the famous romance so suavely and bringing tears to one's eye, as it happened on that evening. Another tenor, Giuglini, the suave tenor per excellence, was superior to Baucardé in Spirto gentil. His superiority was in the way Giuglini could bind long held notes in the romance. I can say that the singing of Spirto gentil by Giuglini sounded like the magical bow of Paganini. Well, Baucardé, who could bring tears to the eyes when singing Spirto gentil and Tu che a Dio spiegasti l'ali from Lucia, brought the shiver down the spine of the spectators during the Maledizione of Lucia, and in Trovatore, the impetus of his voice would make the audience quiver in terror. Gino Monaldi: Ricordando Tamberlick e Baucardé. Corriere di Milano, 29 November 1923

At a very young age, he worked at the palace kitchen of the Granddukes of Tuscany, where his talent for singing was discoverd. He started early, as a baritone, in Lisbon and Naples. By 1847, he was already a tenor (singing Carlo in Mercadante's Il bravo in Florence); 1848 to 1850, he sang at the San Carlo in Naples (Lombardi, Poliuto, Masnadieri, Favorite); in 1850, he went to London (where he was particularly successful) and Madrid as a guest. The next centers of his activity were Bologna, Torino and Rome.

He was one of the first tenors to sing Duca di Mantova, and it earned him enormous success, to the extent that Verdi had him sing Manrico in the world premiere of Il trovatore (Rome, Teatro Apollo, 19 January 1853). Baucardé invented the high Cs at the end of "Di quella pira", when repeating the role in Florence, and was also the first Manrico in Paris (Théâtre Italien, 23 Demember 1854). A few years later, however, Verdi dropped him, saying with regard to Baucardé and his wife (the notoriously temperamental soprano Augusta Albertini) that he didn't want to have to do any longer with "those lunatics".

According to a contemporary account, Baucardé destroyed his voice by alcohol abuse; 1859/60, he was on tour in North America unsuccessfully, and as early as 1863, he retired.

Reference 1; reference 2: Kutsch & Riemens


Torquato Tasso (Torquato Tasso) – Isola della Scala, autumn 1846
Ernani (Carlo) – Perugia, carnevale 1847
I due Foscari (first tenor role) – Firenze, della Piazza Vecchia, ? March 1847
Il bravo – Firenze, della Piazza Vecchia, ? September 1847
Lucia di Lammermoor – Firenze, della Piazza Vecchia, ? September 1847
I lombardi alla prima crociata – Firenze, Leopoldo, Carnevale 1848
Ernani – Firenze, Leopoldo, Carnevale 1848
Le due guide (composer De Giosa) – Firenze, Nuovo, ? May 1848
Guglielmo Tell – Firenze, Nuovo, 30 May 1848
Poliuto – Napoli, San Carlo, 30 November 1848
Maria di Rohan – Napoli, San Carlo, 25 December 1848
Mosè – Napoli, San Carlo, 23 March 1849
I masnadieri – Napoli, San Carlo, 16 May 1849
Elfrida di Salerno – Napoli, San Carlo, 23 June 1849
Lucrezia Borgia – Napoli, San Carlo, 26 July 1849
Il barbiere di Siviglia – Napoli, San Carlo, ? September 1849
Caterina Howard (composer Lillo) – Napoli, San Carlo, 26 September 1849
La favorita – Napoli, San Carlo, 20 January 1850
Linda di Chamounix – London, Her Majesty's, 27 April 1850
La tempesta – London, Her Majesty's, 15 June 1850
Attila – Barcelona, Liceo, 21 September 1850
Don Pasquale – Barcelona, Liceo, 6 November 1850
La prova di un'opera seria (composer Mazza) – 18 January 1851
Luisa Miller – Senigaglia, Nuovo Teatro La Fenice, 19 July 1851
Parisina – Senigaglia, Nuovo Teatro La Fenice, 2 August 1851
Rigoletto – Roma, Argentina, 27 September 1851
Il pirata – Roma, Argentina, 4 November 1851
Camoens (composer Sanelli) – Torino, Regio, 25 December 1851
I puritani – Torino, Regio, 20 January 1852
Il trovatore – Roma, Apollo, 19 January 1853
Gastone di Anversa (composer Ronzi) – Firenze, della Pergola, ? October 1853
Gli arabi nelle Gallie – Paris, des Italiens, 30 January 1855
La traviata – Bologna, Comunale, 20 November 1855
I vespri siciliani – Verona, Filarmonico, 26 February 1856
L'assedio di Leida (composer Petrella) – Roma, Apollo, 27 December 1856
La punizione (composer Pacini) – Roma, Apollo, ? February 1857
Simon Boccanegra – Firenze, della Pergola, 23 October 1857
L'elisir d'amore – Roma, Valle, Carnevale 1859
Saffo – Cadiz, Principal, ? November 1860
Le cantatrici villane – Firenze, Niccolini, 3 September 1870

Reference: Carlo Marinelli Roscioni, Tom Kaufman e Giovanni Vitali Carlo Baucardé. Alcune tappe della sua carriera artistica
Reference: Giovanni Vitali Carlo Baucardé Appunti per una biografia

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