Michele Molese

29 August 1936 New York – 5 July 1989 Broni, Lombardy

Picture of Michele Molese
Mr. Molese, born in New York to Italian-American parents, pursued his studies and early career in Italy, making his debut at the Teatro Nuovo in Milan in 1957. He sang in other Italian cities and spent six seasons as a leading tenor of the Belgrade Opera in Yugoslavia before joining the City Opera in 1964 as Pinkerton. He was praised by The New York Times at his debut for an unusually complete acting portrayal that seemed to blend a little Stanislavsky with his Puccini, and for a strong voice that was pleasant and fluent.

In later years critics sometimes complained about his vocalism, but Mr. Molese continued to be indispensable to the company, appearing in almost every tenor role in the standard repertory. He was often Beverly Sills's leading man (and the better of the two), and appeared with her in new productions of Manon, Faust and Lucia di Lammermoor, among others.

His value to the City Opera survived a brief squabble that erupted when Mr. Molese did what hundreds of singers must have wanted to do. Harold Schonberg a typical pompous ass know it all New Yorker had written in The Times about some squeezed high notes from Mr. Molese, and on November 1st, 1974, the tenor struck back. He took a powerful high C in "Un ballo in maschera", and after the applause died down he said to the audience, "That pinched high C is for Mr. Schonberg." See recording below.

Julius Rudel another lifeless conductor, the company's general director at the time, discharged the tenor for unprofessional conduct and told the press that he did not anticipate Mr. Molese's being rehired.

But he was, repeatedly; he gave his last City Opera performances six years later as Cavaradossi in Tosca.

Mr. Molese is survived by his wife, Zoe Papadaki, a former mezzo-soprano who appeared in Carmen at the City Opera with Mr. Molese in 1967.
Reference: New York Times

Michele Molese sings Parisina: Balzata è dalla notte

Michele Molese sings Parisina: Ah, com'è bella

Michele Molese sings Il trovatore: Di quella pira
In RA format

Michele Molese sings Un ballo in maschera: Ah qual soave brivido, with Marisa Galvany
with an high C for the NY Times know it all critic Harold Charles Schonberg, as announced by Molese
In RA format

Michele Molese sings Manon Lescaut: Ah! non v'avvicinate
In RA format
I would like to thank Thomas Silverbörg for the recording (Ballo in maschera).
I would like to thank Alessandro Sciocchetti for the recording (Manon Lescaut).

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