About Giuseppe Kaschmann
Giuseppe Kaschmann (Josip Kašman) was born on July 14, 1850 in Lussinpiccolo, now Mali Lošinj, the youngest of fourteen children*. His father was Maestro Giuseppe Kaschmann (28 September 1800 - 18 March 1857), an Austrian, and his mother, Eugenia, born Ivancich (15 January 1807 - 14 December 1888) was from Lošinj.
Described as “magnificent and genial”, he gained international renown as a baritone. Today, each of three distinct nations - Italy, Croatia, and Austria - claim Giuseppe to be one of their own. Giuseppe was a highly cultured man and spoke seven languages. The organist at the Duomo of Lošinj was aware of his singing talent from early times, but Giuseppe's mother was opposed to him breaking family tradition. However, with the help of his oldest brother, Venanzio, a doctor and himself a musician, the obstacles were finally broken, and he was sent to study under Maestro Alberto Giovannini in Milano (according to the Grande Enciclopedia della Musica Lirica,Vol. III; other sources say it was Turin).
It was reported by Schimdl that in 1875, at the start of the Bosnia-Herzegovina war, he deserted from the Austrian military and went to study opera under Alberto Giovannini (but Schmidl states it was in Milan, not Udine). That news seems fraught with fantasy because in 1878 Giuseppe sang at the Ugonetti in Trieste which was an Austrian city at the time. An alternate source states that he left for Italy in 1870 to avoid serving in the Austrian military. Either way, he was expelled from Austrian territories in 1876 (1878, according to Schmidl) and became a citizen of the newly established kingdom of Italy.
Kaschman made his singing debut in February 1876 at the Regio in Turin in Favorita by Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848), thereupon immediately eliciting favorable reviews. In April of the same year, he sang in Venice in Forza del Destino by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901). He instantly became one the most sought-after baritones of the times, and this was reaffirmed in Venice in November that same year where he interpreted the role of Faraone in Mosè by Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868). Thus, in a short period of time he swept up the best stages in Italy and abroad.
During carnival season in 1878-79, he sang in Verdi's Don Carlos and in Re di Lahore by Jules Massenet (1842-1912) at the Scala of Milano right behind the baritone Lassalle. He would return to that stage on various other occasions. He performed at the Apollo of Rome in 1878 and in Madrid in 1880 and again in 1890.
In 1882, Giuseppe sang at the Beyreuth where he was Amfortas in Parsifal and Wolfram in Tannhaüser, both by Richard Wagner (1813-83), and there also meeting with a favorable reception by the public. On another occasion (date and place not mentioned by the source), Giuseppe sang the role of Baron Scarpia, the chief of the secret police in the opera Tosca by Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924), and it was said that he drowned the chorus in the " Te Deum" scene of Act I but murmured on the breath "Par che abbiate paura di tradirvi" in the rape scene of Act II.
In 1883, he performed at San Carlo of Naples (and returned in 1888). While in Naples, he also married the Triestine singer Emma Vicentini. That same year, he took part in the "Compagnia di Abbey" which inaugurated the new Metropolitan Opera House of New York City. Giuseppe was the first Istrian and possibly the only Lussignano to have ever sung at the Met. In fact, he was one of two Italian singers, both new to the city, to perform in leading roles during that 1883-84 opening season for the opera house which had relocated to Broadway between 39th and 40th Streets. Roberto Stagno, the other Italian, played the part of Manrico while Giuseppe Kaschmann was Di Luna in Verdi's Il Trovatore which opened on that stage on October 26, 1883. These two singers were in a company that was united by the vocal traditions of Italian opera, singing all performances in Italian, where the two American sopranos sang under Italian names: Alwina Valleria (originally Schoening) in leading roles, and Grace Goldini (originally Golden) in small ones.
In the chapter recounting the early years of the 1900’s, it states:
“At that time Josip Kašman of Losinj was at the height of his world fame. He was an opera singer (‘The king of baritones’), and he sang the role of Mislav in the opera of the same name by Zajc at the opening of the permanent Croatian opera in Zagreb”. Pictured right: Photo during his Wagnarian concert in Bologna 24 May 1900. (Guida programma del concerto wagneriano a vantaggio dei ristauri del tempio di S. Francesco: col concorso del commendatore Giuseppe Kaschmann: Teatro comunale, giovedì 24 maggio 1900 Associazione Universale Riccardo Wagner, Sezione di Bologna Bologna, Biblioteca dell’Archiginnasio.)
Apart his many operas was the role of Don Giocondo in Fino's Battista of which he was the major interpreter (Torino, November 13, 1906), he also sang in the Oratories of Lorenzo Perosi. Schmidl recounts that in a 1907 performance for Pope Pius X, Kaschman wept so much that upon the Pontif asking him what he could do in his behalf, Giuseppe prayed for his official intervention with Emperor Francis Joseph because he wished to see his motherland once more. And thus, that which not even the Queen of Spain could achieve, he succeeded in obtaining political anmesty from Pius X. Thus, in September 1907, after thirty years' absence, he was able to finally return to the city of his birth and also to Trieste where, during Lent season, he sang with great success at Teatro Verdi in Fino's Battista which was directed by its composer. This was one of his last triumphs. Soon afterwards, he retired completely from the stage.
A poem written on the occasion of Giuseppe Kaschmann's return to Lussinpiccolo after he was given political amnesty by Pope Pius X in 1907, and it has been published in Rome with an April 20, 1969 dedication by Alma Martinoli.
Dedicata a Giuseppe Kaschmann, celebre cantante cittadino Lussignano nell'occasione in cui, dopo 50 [ed. this should be 30] anni di proscrizione per motivi militari, pote' rivedere la Sua diletta Patria Lussignana che Lo accolse fraternamente con entusiastiche manifestazioni di giubilo, stima ed affetto.
In 1916, he was entrusted with the chair of the music department at the Conservatory of Naples. Kaschmann devoted the last years of his career primarily to comic opera. He retired from the stage in 1921, performing in Rome in Astuzie Femminili by D. Cimarosa. He died in Rome on February 7, 1925.
I veci Lussignani al loro Bepi
Se avemo da' convegno tutti quanti in sta serata fresca de l'estate sospinti dai medesimi rimpianti e da un moto del cor che per Ti bate. Te gavemo segui' per ani e ani o nostro caro e illustre lussignan da Principi applaudio e da Sovrani de successo in successo a noi lontan;
ma per quanto la gloria coi sorisi Te gavesse ninado e accarezza' Ti mai ti ga scordado i paradisi de sto picio paese fortuna'.
Quando ti ga podu' ti xe tornado a veder questo cielo e questo mar e da bon patriota Ti n'a' dado la gioia del tuo magico cantar.
Dalle dorate sfase un fia' scrostade dove da ani stemo imusonai semo calai stasera nelle strade pieni de afetto anche se insonai
per venir dirTe che Te semo grati de non gaver scorda' la tua Lussin e che se stimaremo fortunadi se nel cor ti ne serbi un postisin.
E che per noi la gioventu' presente interprete fedel con tutto el cor Te amira, stima e ama qual parente facendo mille voti con amor
a Ti e alla tua graziosa cara Fia che dal ciel la ga avu' la sorte bela de esser oltre che cara, bona e pia Fia de un simile Artista, Artista anche ela.
The people of Lošinj erected a marble bust of Giuseppe Kaschman, but it was defaced and thrown into the sea near the Squero region. Later, Mayor Marijan de Santi, had it recovered. The restoration of the bust was then commissioned to a sculptor from Zagreb named Brnić, but he passed away before the work could be executed. In 1970, the marble bust was replaced by one made of bronze, and it can be found in the main square of Mali Lošinj (Lussinpiccolo). In his honor, the local band now carries his Croatized name “Josip Kašman”.
Gramaphone Monarch Record label of his recording of "Carlo che e' solo il nostro amore" from the opera Don Carlos by Giuseppe Verdi. The same recording is reproduced on EMI CD 64860 [1/3] 2:38).
Giuseppe Kaschmann was one of the first Italian opera singers to record his voice, as indicated by the record cover above and the actual sound clip of his performance. Others of his recordings have been and are still being reproduced. Among those already done are the following:
Manifesto per [due] concerti. (Varsavia, Teatro Filarmonia, 28 aprile e 1 maggio 1903). 47,2 x 71 cm
In programma: Suite ancienne, Suite napolitaine, Seraphitus Seraphita e brani dalle opere Pagliacci, Chatterton e I Medici di R. Leoncavallo, interpretate da Giuseppe Kaschmann, dall'orchestra e dal coro del Teatro Filarmonia, diretti dall'autore. Sul manifesto si legge, inoltre, che dall'opera "Ziganeria"[?] sono stati eseguiti lo Scherzo del II atto e la Gavotta del primo atto! [Nomi cit.: Balzac, Honoré de; Cotty, Jana.]
Giuseppe's spirited 1903 recording of "O de’ verd’anni miei" from Act III of Ernania by Verdi (as part of an 8-CD collection).
A review of Don Carlos performed during the 1889-90 Carnevale that appeared in Gazzetta di Parma on 26 December 1889 states:
“Mi sono riserbato di parlare per ultimo del cav. Kaschmann. Perché?... Mah! Forse perché dopo aver encomiato tanti artisti, non mi accadrebbe di mostrare esaurito il dizionario degli epiteti laudativi; dacché mi pare, che, con un artista siffatto, le parole, s'inventerebbero. Del resto, tutti gli elogi si possono condensare in questa sola frase: il Kaschmann è un grandissimo artista. Bella, pastosa, squillante, duttile è la sua voce. Questa, sia che egli la trattenga, sia che la lasci prorompere in scoppi possenti, ha la virtù di riempiere sempre la sala e di molcere dolcemente l'orecchio all'uditorio. E come la sa modulare, e con qual'arte squisita egli accarezza, vezzeggia certe frasi! Che delizia sarà mai stato il teatro, quando gli artisti cantavano tutti a quel modo! Né soltanto cantante finissimo si appalesa il Kaschmann. Egli è un artista in tutto. Non credo che si possa rappresentare il personaggio del Posa con maggiore distinzione e verità. Accurato in tutti i particolari del vestiario elegantissimo, sobrio nel porgere, egli, è l'ideale del cavaliere. È superfluo dica, aver egli ottenuto un successo strepitoso. Gli applausi proruppero sempre fragorosissimi dal principio alla fine; ma forse ciò che più a lui saranno riesciti graditi erano certi scoppi di approvazione, a stento trattenuti, che partivano dai buongustai, a talune sue frasi, rese con una virtuosità, che, purtroppo, ora va scomparendo. Il punto culminante, per lui, è stato, però, la scena della morte. Con quale delicatezza, con quanta commovente mestizia, con quante lagrime nella voce egli abbia cantato la sublime melodia: "Per me giunto è il dì supremo," è impossibile dire. Il pubblico ne rimase talmente entusiasmato, che, terminata l'aria volle riudirla ed egli la ripet?on crescente effetto. E terminato l'atto, si vide tutta la platea alzarsi in piedi e dai palchi sporgersi gli uomini ad applaudire freneticamente. Fu un momento solenne, che si ripeterà - probabilmente in misura maggiore - tutte le sere che quel grande artista starà fra noi. Dacché è inutile; quando si è sentito una volta il Kaschmann, bisogna risentirlo e risentirlo ancora. Non c'è scampo.” Of his Giuseppe Kaschmann's contribution to music, the Grande Enciclopedia della Musica Lirica,Vol. III states: "Dotato di voce estesissima in grado di spaziare agevolmente dalla zona grave fino al registro acuto, fu una figura di primaria importanza nel secondo Romanticismo, vero dominatore della scena lirica per almeno un quarto di secolo."
Of Kaschmanns thirteen siblings, we have so far only the birth dates of two sisters: Elisabeth (b. 1845) and Christina (b. 1843). A third sister, Eufrasia, married Giovanni Domenico Stuparich. They were the parents of Marco (Jan. 3, 1867 in Lussinpiccolo - Jan. 14, 1930 in Trieste). Marco Stuparich was the father of Giani/Gianni (1891-1961), the irredentist writer, and two other children, Carlo and Bianca.
Photograph of bronze bust by Mario Majarich. Dizionario biografico dei personaggi citati a cura di Gaspare Nello Vetro - http://biblioteche.comune.parma.it/archivio/ferrarini/biografie2.htm - translated by Marisa Ciceran Review (Don Carlos) - http://biblioteche.comune.parma.it/archivio/ferrarini/altrevoci3.htm Photo - Metropolitan Opera House of New York - http://www.metopera.org/history/week-961125.html Record cover - Nauck's Vintage records, VRA 30 Highlights La Folia - A Cornucopia of Great Verdi Singing: Les Introuvables Du Chant Verdien (Rarities Of Verdi Singing) - http://www.lafolia.com/archive/mrichter/mrichter200108verdi.html 8.3 MuskG/Gesangssolisten - http://www.jadu.de/musikgeschichte/text/musiker2.html Biblioteca Nacional - Verdi em Portugal - http://bnd.bn.pt/ed/verdi/iconografia/065.html WUOT 91.9, Echoes of a Golden Age - http://sunsite.utk.edu/wuot/Echoes.htm Kaschman.mp3 sound clip Photo - Mostra Wagner a Bologna - Concerti wagneriani - http://www.luigiverdi.it/wagner_a_bologna-mostra-concerti.htm Grande Enciclopedia della Musica Lirica,Vol. III (courtesy of Etty Simicich)