Satariano, Joseph (6.9.1895-19.4.1992)


Probably the greatest singer Malta has produced, Satariano was born in Valletta. Following a relatively modest debut in Sliema in 1918, he attracted the attention of the Royal Opera House impresario Lancelloui and made his debut there on 5 November 1919 in a minor role in Puccini's Manon Lescaut.

He then moved to secondary ones then to more important ones, his first being Albert in 's Werther during the 1922-23 season

Satariono then moved to Italy where he made his name after appearances at Milan's Carcano and other Italian opera houses.

His big break, which Italian critics describedas a 'revelation', was his last-minute standing in for the great Stabile in a performance of Mule' Dafni in Palermo.

From then on, Satariano never looked back. He was a frequent visitor to his native land, although at one time he was absent from the Royal Opera stage for 8 years. He sang all over Italy, in Istanbul, South America, Tripoli, and England where he first sang in 1938 and which he subsequently made his second home. He gradually built up a repertoire of scores of roles. By general consensus Rigoletto was the role which he most made his own.

The distinguished singers opposite whom he sang included Melba, Chaliapin, Pederzini, Saraceni, Icilio Calleja, Pertile, Toti del Monte, Simionato, Poli, Licia, Albanese, Tassinari, Garuti, Basiola, Schipa, Galeppi, Franci, Merli, de Muro Lomanto, Granforte, Arangi Lombardi, and,Joan Hammond.

In London, Satariano appeared at the Royal Albert Hall and during World War 11 he entertained troops with various appearances on ENSA shows. For many years he enjoyed a fruitful association with the Carl Rosa Company, to which he introduced rising Maltese tenor Oreste Kirkop.

Satariano continued singing well into his sixties and left his last stage appearance for his many admirers in his native land. This was in 1957, when he sang 'Rigoletto' at the Radio City Opera House, Hamrun, still remembered by many as a truly great performance and not a swan song.

Satariano retired definitely in 1962 and came to Malta where he died in his 97th year. AGS

Source: Maltese Biographies of the Twentieth Century (1997), editors Michael J. Schiavone and Louis J. Scerri

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