Having commenced his vocal training in the small town of Capestrano, in the province of Aquila, Silveri continued his studies in Milan with Perugini. Conscripted into the Italian army in 1933, he took part in military activities in Ethiopia and Albania and fought in World War II, while also making a semi-professional debut in the bass role of Hans Schwarz / Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at the Rome Opera in 1939. After being wounded, Silveri was discharged from the military and during 1942 continued his vocal studies at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome with Riccardo Stracciari. He made a second debut as a bass in 1943, but on the advice of Gigli switched to becoming a baritone, appearing in 1944 as Germont père / La traviata at the Rome Opera.
Silveri quickly established himself as a leading baritone in Italy and was especially popular in Naples, where he sang often with the company of the Teatro di San Carlo (including their guest season at the Royal Opera House, London in 1946). He returned to Covent Garden to sing several roles in English with the young Covent Garden Opera Company during the 1947–1948 and 1948– 1949 seasons, including the title parts in Rigoletto and Boris Godunov, di Luna / Il trovatore, Escamillo / Carmen and Marcello / La Bohème, as well as Rigoletto in 1952. He took part in the 1948 Edinburgh Festival, singing the title role in the Glyndebourne Festival Opera’s production of Don Giovanni, and returned with this company to Edinburgh in 1949 to sing Renato / Un ballo in maschera.
This was also the year in which Silveri made his debut at La Scala, Milan as di Luna. The following year he appeared for the first time at the Metropolitan Opera as Don Giovanni, followed by Germont père on the subsequent night. Later in the same season he sang Figaro / Il barbiere di Siviglia. He returned in the 1951–1952 season for Rigoletto, Marcello, Amonasro / Aida, Escamillo, di Luna, Iago / Otello and Rodrigo / Don Carlo. His final season at the Met, 1952–1953, saw him undertake Scarpia / Tosca, Rigoletto and Don Carlo / La forza del destino.
Back in Europe, Silveri made his debut in Paris in 1951 as Renato, while in Italy he took part in a number of complete performances for the Italian broadcasting company, RAI, which received wide circulation on disc. During a season of Italian opera in Dublin in 1959 he sang the title role in Otello, but quickly reverted to singing as a baritone. He returned to England during the 1960s to appear several times at the Camden Festival in rarely-heard operas such as Verdi’s Il corsaro (1966) and Donizetti’s Marino Faliero (1967). He retired in 1968 after singing Rigoletto in Budapest with his daughter Silvia taking the part of Gilda, and thereafter taught in Rome.
© Naxos Rights International Ltd. — David Patmore (A–Z of Singers, Naxos 8.558097-100).
Role: Classical Artist