Zenatello, Giovanni, Italian tenor; b. Verona, Feb. 22, 1876; d. N.Y., Feb. 11, 1949. He was originally trained as a baritone by Zannoni and Moretti in Verona. He made his official operatic debut as such in Belluno in 1898 as Silvio in Pagliacci; sang in minor opera companies in Italy; then went to Naples, where he sang the tenor role of Canio in 1899. He sang the role of Pinkerton in the first performance of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly (La Scala, Milan, Feb. 17, 1904). In 1905 he sang at Covent Garden, London. On Nov. 4, 1907, he made his American debut in N.Y. as Enzo Grimaldo in Ponchiel-li’s La Gioconda. From 1909 to 1912, and again in 1913-14, he was the leading tenor of the Boston Opera Co.; during the season of 1912-13, he sang with the Chicago Opera Co; also traveled with various touring opera companies in South America, Spain, and Russia. He eventually settled in N.Y. as a singing teacher, maintaining a studio with his wife, Maria Gay, whom he married in 1913. Together, they trained many famous singers, among them Lily Pons and Nino Martini. He retired from the stage in 1928.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire