Raaff, Anton



Celebrated tenor; born at Holzen, near Bonn; was educated for a priest, and did not even learn to sing by note until he was twenty; but upon hearing him sing, the Elector placed him under Fernandini at Munich; later he studied under Bernacchi at Bologna, and made an Italian debut at Florence in 1738, singing afterwards on the Italian stage. In 1742 he returned to Bonn, and for ten years sang at a number of German courts, notably Vienna. He went to Lisbon where he sang in Italian Opera; then to Madrid, where he sang under the direction of Farinelli with whom he went to Naples. He returned to Germany in 17 0, where he became a court musician to the Elector Karl Theodor at Mannheim and went with him to Munich, where he remained till his death. The year previous, however, he had been in Paris with Mozart, who wrote for him the part of Idomeneo, and also the air known as " Se al labro mio." He possessed an exceptional voice, both in quality and compass, unusually distinct enunciation, and the ability to sing with a power of expression that equaled his execution.