Giovanni Battista Rubini Portrait

Giovanni Battista Rubini.

Giovanni Battista Rubini (April 7, 1794 - March 3, 1854) was an Italian tenor, as famous in his time as Enrico Caruso in a later day. His ringing and expressive coloratura dexterity in the highest register of his voice, the tenorino, inspired the writing of operatic roles which today are almost impossible to cast. As a singer Rubini was the major early exponent of the Romantic style of Vincenzo Bellini and Gaetano Donizetti. Rubini is remembered as an extraordinary bel canto singer, one of the most famous singers in Europe in the 1830s and 40s.[1]


Born in Romano di Lombardia, Rubini began as a violinist at twelve years of age at the Teatro Riccardi in Bergamo. His first appearance as singer was 1814 in Pavia in Le lagrime d'una vedova by Pietro Generali. After ten years in Naples, 1815-31, during which he also scored spectacular successes in Paris, 1825-26, in Rossini operas, he moved permanently to Paris, performing in Rossini's La Cenerentola, Otello, and La donna del lago and dividing his time between Paris (autumn and winter) and London (spring). His special relation with Vincenzo Bellini began with Bianca e Gernando (1826) and continued until I puritani (1835), when he was one of the long-remembered "Puritani quartet" of Giulia Grisi, Rubini, Antonio Tamburini and Luigi Lablache, for whose voices the opera was written. The four appeared together in Donizetti's Marino Faliero the same season, then travelled to London with Michael William Balfe. Rubini was admitted as an honorary member of the Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna and retired with a great fortune in 1845.

He died in his hometown of Romano in 1854, and is buried in the cemetery there, within a large marble monument.


  • Bruno Cassinelli, Antonio Maltempi and Mario Pozzoni, Rubini. L’uomo e L’artista (Comune di Romano di Lombardia: Cassa Rurale ed Artigiana di Calcio e di Covo, 1996) Vol I – II.
  • Eugênio Gara, Giovan Battista Rubini nel Centenario della Morte (7 aprile 1794-3 marzo 1854); preface by Francesco Speranza. - Commemorative Conference of 28 October, 1954. (Industrie grafiche Cattaneo, Bergamo 1968).
  • Pleasants, Henry. "Giovanni Battista Rubini (1794–1854)". Opera Quarterly (10.2): pp. 101–104. 
  • Carlo Traini, Il Cigno di Romano. Giovan Battista Rubini. Re Dei Tenore. (Bérgamo, Committee for the Centenary celebrations 1954).
  • Zucker, Stefan (February 13, 1982). "Last of a Breed: Giovanni Battista Rubini Ruled as the Paragon of Virtuoso Tenors, King of the High F’s". Opera News. 


  • Circolo Amici della Lirica G.B. Rubini (aegis of Comune, Romano di Lombardia, Bergamo) [1]
  • Fondazione G.B. Rubini (Romano di Lombardia, Bergamo) [2]
  • La Scuola Libera di Canto Lirico Giovan Battista Rubini (Brazil (linked to both the above)) [3]

External links


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