Augusto Ferrauto

Picture of Augusto Ferrauto

Augusto Ferrauto sings La bohème: Che gelida manina
In RA format

Augusto Ferrauto sings Tosca: E lucevan le stelle
In RA format

Augusto Ferrauto sings Cavalleria rusticana: Mamma, quel vino
In RA format

Augusto Ferrauto sings Santa Lucia luntana
In RA format

Augusto Ferrauto sings Turandot: Nessun dorma
In RA format

Augusto Ferrauto, born June 20th, 1903, Naples; died June 14th, 1986, Naples as well. His father was a carabinieri officer, his mother had also three other children from her first husband, who had died. Augusto Ferrauto became a book-keeper, and after military service worked for the Federation of Neapolitan Farmers. In 1927, he married his girlfriend from childhood, Maria Riano. At the same time, he studied voice – without professional ambitions – with the teachers Punzo, Lombardo and Campanino. Finally, he was convinced both by his father and by two famous singers, Ester Mazzoleni and Gemma Bellincioni, to aim at a singing career. His debut took place on August 21st or 22nd 1929 at an open air performance of Lucia di Lammermoor in Vasto Adriatico, with Ada Sartori and Antonio Armentano as the other leading performers, and he sang more Lucia performances the same year in Naples (Teatro Bellini), and perhaps also in Cremona. Then, surprisingly, no further appearances in public till autumn 1933, when he sang Traviata with Saturno Meletti in Salerno, and Butterfly with Tamaki Miura in Salerno again, in Foggia and Lecce. January 1934 found him in Bohème in Cremona, with Emilio Ghirardini and Maria Carbone – and at the San Carlo of Naples, in Lucia with Bidú Sayão and under Ettore Panizza's baton, which was a huge success and his breakthrough. He further career developped almost exclusively in Italy; his foreign appearances were more or less limited to a Denmark -Sweden-France tour in 1934, a Mefistofele in Vichy/France in the 1936/37 season, and two ventures into Egypt in 1938 and 1947. He must also have been in Norway (presumably on his 1934 tour), Spain, Portugal, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia, but it's unknown at which time. In Italy, though, he had a really important career. He sang at the Scala in Milan, at the Reale dell'Opera in Rome, at the Regio in Torino, the Massimo in Palermo, Carlo Felice in Genova, Ponchielli in Cremona, at the Castello Sforzesco in Milan (open air), at the Regio in Parma, at the Terme di Caracalla in Rome (open air), in Bari, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia, Novara, Ferrara, Treviso, Fiume, Prato, Florence, Adria, Merano, Bolzano, Bologna, Montecatini, Messina, Cagliari, Sassari, Lecce... and of course, many times at "his" San Carlo in Naples. He was famous for his Manrico, and for always repeating Di quella pira (unfortunately, he never recorded it). His other important roles were in Forza del destino, Aida, Carmen, Bohème, Lucia di Lammermoor, Gioconda, Turandot, Cavalleria rusticana, Adriana Lecouvreur, Fedora, Ballo in maschera, Andrea Chénier and, particularly important in his later years, Pagliacci. But he also performed in many novelties, some of them world premieres: Il dibuk by Lodovico Rocca; Liola by Giuseppe Mulè; La monacella della fontana, again by Mulè; Il dottor Oss by Annibale Bizzelli (Ferrauto sang the world premiere at the Teatro Reale in Rome on April 25th, 1936); Notturno romantico by Riccardo Pick-Mangiagalli; Ave Maria by Salvatore Allegra; Donata by Gaspare Scuderi (a huge success for Ferrauto at La Scala in April 1940, but he had sung the role before, too); La canzone di San Giovanni by Giuseppe Pietri (world premiere in Sanremo, December 1938); Cleopatra by Armando La Rosa-Parodi; Caracciolo by Franco Vittadini; Mavra by Igor Stravinsky; Enoch Arden by Ottmar Gerster (Italian premiere, Roma, Teatro Reale, March 28th, 1942, with Benvenuto Franci and Pia Tassinari); two works by Riccardo Zandonai, the well-known Giulietta e Romeo, but also La via della finestra; L'ultimo lord by Franco Alfano; La leggenda di Sakutala, again by Alfano; and La donna serpente by Alfredo Casella. But he sang more (also older) unusual repertory: Les Béatitudes by César Franck (his Scala debut, but I don't unfortunately know when it took place), Il Guarany by Gomes, Le maschere by Mascagni... From 1943 to the end of his career (in the 1948/1949 season), he had a permanent contract with the San Carlo, where he was a particular favourite with the audience. After 1949, he gave but a few performances, mostly in Pagliacci; confirmed appearances took place in 1950, 1952, and one final Canio on August 19th, 1959, in Naples, in a performance with Rosetta Noli and Ettore Bastianini. (Galliano Masini bid farewell in the same role and in the same series of performances!) His contemporaries (newspaper critics included) called him a thrilling performer, and a good, if somewhat conventional stage actor, as well. His voice was reported to be large, the timbre colourful, warm and vibrant, his production very easy. His top notes, above all, won him praise. Nonetheless, the voice didn't evidently last long, as not only his early retirement implies, but as reportedly a radio concert of Neapolitan songs of 1944 confirms. His recording activities were limited to a short period between November 1937 and June 1940; he first recorded for Parlophon, then for Cetra, both operatic selections and Neapolitan songs.
(reference: Maurizio Tiberi, Clamadisco CD booklet, May 1991)

Lucia di Lammermoor – Vasto, 22 August 1929
La traviata – Salerno, 4 November 1933
Madama Butterfly – Salerno, November 1933
La bohème – Cremona, 27 January 1934
Tosca – Salerno, 9 April 1934
Cavalleria rusticana – Salerno, August 1934
Mefistofele – Vichy, September 1934
Liolà (comp. Mulè) – Napoli, 2 February 1935
I Capuleti e i Montecchi – Napoli, 20 March 1935
La Gioconda – Salerno, 14 April 1935
Il tabarro – Roma, 14 March 1936
Gianni Schicchi – Roma, 14 March 1936,
Il dottor Oss (comp. Bizzelli) – Roma, 25 September 1936
Manon Lescaut – Salerno, 11 May 1936
Il Guarany – Torino, 16 July 1936
Sakuntala – Torino, 20 September 1936
Adriana Lecouvreur – Treviso, 4 November 1936
Notturno romantico (comp. Pick-Mangiagalli) – Firenze, 26 November 1936
Ave Maria (comp. Allegra) – Messina, 30 November 1936
Rigoletto – Novara, 4 March 1937
Il dibuk – Genova, 9 March 1937
Giulietta e Romeo – Roma, 3 October 1937
Donata (comp. Scuderi) – Genova, 20 February 1938
La via della finestra (comp. Zandonai) – Torino, 26 March 1938
Fedora – Milano, July 1938
La monacella della fontana (comp. Mulè) – Adria, 10 September 1938
L'ultimo lord (comp. Alfano) – Torino, 13 October 1938
La canzone di San Giovanni (comp. Pietri) – San Remo, 21 January 1939
L'arlesiana – Catania, 30 March 1939
Gloria – Milano, 22 June 1939
Il giudizio universale (comp. Perosi) – Napoli, August 1930
Turandot – Spoleto, 8 September 1939
Cleopatra (comp. La Rosa Parodi) – Cagliari, 12 December 1939
Caracciolo (comp. Vittadini) – Piacenza, January 1940
L'amico Fritz – Ancona, 28 September 1940
Le maschere – Milano, 8 February 1941
Un ballo in maschera – San Severo, 25 April 1941
La forza del destino – Alessandria, 15 November 1941
Andrea Chénier – Napoli, 15 January 1942
Mavra – Roma, 7 March 1942
Enoch Arden (comp. Gerster) – Roma, 28 March 1942
Lodoletta – Palermo, 18 April 1942
La donna serpente (comp. Casella) – Milano, 31 October 1942
Fior di Maria (comp. Bianchi) – Trieste, 30 January 1943
Aida – Valencia, 6 May 1943
Carmen – Valencia, 8 May 1943
Pagliacci – Valencia, 10 May 1943
Il trovatore – Napoli, 7 September 1944
Otello – Napoli, 10 March 1945
I wish to thank Robert Schlesinger for the biographical notes and recordings (Cavalleria, Tosca, Bohème, Santa Lucia luntana).
Reference: The Record Collector, April-June1995.
I wish to thank Roberto Marcocci for the photograph.

Go Home