Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Exclusive Web Site Photos
L: Dominic Cossa, courtesy of concert program
R: Amri Galli-Campi, courtesy of Dr. D.E. Jones file
On October 12, 1987, Dominic Cossa opened the 20th season of the University of Scranton’s Concert and Theater Series. The setting obviously meant a great deal to Cossa, a University of Scranton alumnus. President Panuska presented him with the university’s Centennial medal, which had also been presented to Pope John Paul II.
His triumphant return provided local audiences a chance to hear their renowned native son at the height of his powers. Cossa, a lyric baritone capable of melding singer music and acting–a fact immediately obvious in the opening selection–Mozart’s “Rivolgete a Lui lo Squardo.” Even those who didn’t understand Italian were made aware of the light satirical tone of the piece because the singer let the listeners in on things without the slightest hint of pedantry.
Amri Galli-Campi, born Irma Gallenkamp, was another Scrantonian to rise to prominence in the world of opera. She was a coloratura soprano who made her opera debut at the Metropolitan on April 7, 1938 singing the role of Gilda in Rigoletto. She had a rare quality in the musical world, perfect pitch. She later sang with Laurence Tibbet, Richard Crooks, Lily Pons, Jascha Heifetz, Jose Iturbi and Grace Moore. In 1940, at the opening of the New York World’s Fair, she performed Air Castles, an opera she had written.
Her first Scranton appearance as a guest artist was on May 12, 1940 when she was a soloist at the 44th annual Junger Maennerchor concert. In appreciation of her return home, Mayor Fred J. Huester proclaimed May 13, 1940, Amri Galli-Campi Day. Her first number was Gilda’s song from Rigoletto, “Caro Nome.” She was gracious and charming with an unusually sweet voice with a bell-like quality with a warm, velvety texture and a wide range.