Varesi, Felice, noted French-Italian baritone; b. Calais, 1813; d. Milan, March 13, 1889. He made his debut in Donizetti’s Furioso all’isola di San Domingoin Várese in 1834, then sang throughout Italy; made guest appearances at Vienna’s Kärnthnertortheater (1842-47), where he created the role of Antonio in Donizetti’s Linda di Chamounix (May 19, 1842). He was chosen to create the title roles in Verdi’s Macbeth (Florence, March 14, 1847) and Rigoletto (Venice, March 11, 1851), and Germont père in La Traviata (Venice, March 6,1853). On April 19, 1864, he made his London debut as Rigoletto at Her Majesty’s Theatre. His wife was the soprano Cecilia Boccabadati (b. c. 1825; d. Florence, 1906); their daughter, Elena Boccabadati-Varesi (b. Florence, c. 1854; d. Chicago, June 15, 1920), was also a soprano; made her London debut as Gilda at Drury Lane (April 17, 1875); after appearing throughout Europe, she settled in Chicago, where she taught voice from 1888; her finest role was Lucia; was also admired for her portrayals of Zerlina and Amina.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire