Foil (real name, Foley), A(llan) J(ames)

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Foil (real name, Foley), A(llan) J(ames)

Foil (real name, Foley), A(llan) J(ames), Irish bass; b. Cahir, Tipperary, Aug. 7, 1835; d. Southport, Oct. 20, 1899. He was a pupil of Bisaccia in Naples. Following a widespread fashion among aspiring English opera singers, he changed his name to an Italian-sounding homonym, Foli, and made a career as “Signer Foil.” He made his professional debut as Elmiro in Rossini’s Otello in Catania in 1862, then sang throughout Italy. He appeared in London at Her Majesty’s Theatre in 1865, and later at Covent Garden and Drury Lane. He toured the U.S. with Mapleson’s opera company (1878–79), and also traveled in South Africa, Australia, and Russia.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire