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Titos Xirellis

Soloist, Baritone, Composer
He was born on Lesbos island on 27/3/1903 (or 1900). At a very young age he was a cantor. He took violin lessons and Byzantine music in Mytilene. He studied voice at the Athens Conservatory under Nina Foka, as well as harmony with under Philoctetes Economides and theory under Armand Marsik (1917-1919). He also studied under George Lombiankos (1919-20); he continued studies under Nina Foka at the Greek Conservatory, graduating with a Gold Medal for excellence in Monody and Melodrama (1920). He originally intended to be a tenor. He débuted in 1918 as baritone with the Kyparissis troupe. In 1920 he made his Greek Melodrama Theater début in the title roles in Rigoletto and The Flying Dutchman [Der fliegende Holländer]. He moved to Milan in 1925 to study under Guiseppe Borghi, on a John Vozou Foundation scholarship. He took further studies in Berlin under Mattia Battistini (1926-28), while at the same time he was hired by Bruno Walter at the State Opera Berlin, as an Italian repertoire singer. From 1928 to 1929 he often appeared in Italy and was particularly popular in the Genoa Opera, performing, among others, roles in operas by Wagner and Richard Strauss. Between 1934 and 1936 he was a staff member of the Opera of Chicago and appeared in New York in the title role in Rigoletto and as Giorgio Germont [The fallen woman/La traviata]. He returned to Greece in 1938 and taught at the National Conservatory and reunited with the Greek Melodrama Theater. In the period from 1940 to 1946 he participated in about 25 GNO productions and/or revivals, singing leading or supporting baritone roles in six operas and five operettas, all of which were premieres for the newly established institution: Madama Butterfly, Rea, Gianni Schicchi, La traviata, Tosca, The tales of Hoffmann [Les contes d’ Hoffmann], etc. He composed numerous vocal works, as well as church music. Between 1912 and 1949 he recorded several songs. His opera Spring Tale [Anoixiatiko Paramythi] (1950 to 1953) was premiered by the GNO in 1975/1976. His remains are kept at the Municipal Gallery of Mytilene. He died in Athens on 24/1/1985.